New and super-cheap method to 3D print micro-structures (microfluidic, phase-objects, etc.)

When characterizing cells or any other microscopic objects it’s sometimes useful to guide them through tiny channels when observing or counting them under the microscope. The term is sometimes called as microfluidics. Therefore many different methods exist to create these devices. One method etches channels in glass or plastic, another additively procedure – sometimes called photolithography – cures a photoresist/resin to get a 3D-like structure after washing the uncured parts away. This usually costs lots of money. Further details here:

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One part of my research was to improve phase-contrast using a brightfield microscope without adding any special optics like the DIC-prism or phasering in Zernike phase-contrast. Defined phase objects are hard to get. Thinking about a light guide embedded in immersion oil could be one chance to have a phase object, but this extends the field of view (FOV) of a 20x/63x objective which was used in my setup.

Cells are usually amorphous and won’t have defined phase retardation. Therefore I was thinking about a way how I can get a defined phase on the cheap with off the shelf components.

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DIY Universal framwework for smartphone microscopes (Here: Blackberry Passport)

Well.. Demand on imaging small structures is widely increasing. In 3rd world countries diagnosis of parasites like malaria is becoming more and more important. Also judging over the water quality is of great importance. General public has hardly any money to spent for those kind of technologies, so why not using things which are around already? I’m not the first one taking this into account, but want to give some inspirations on how a smartphone microscope could look like.

This one was also thought as a present for someone who has a BLACKBERRY PASSPORT, but the upper case for the smartphone can be exchanged to any other case you find. You could either glue or use the two drills to attach it to the main body.

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