UC San Diego
Bio-inspired fluidic lens for biomedical applications
- Author(s): Tsai, Shang-Feng (Frank)
- et al.
My research interests and experiences have focused on bio- inspired fluidic lens, which is a lens that can change its curvature just like the crystalline lens of the human eye. The curvature tuning capability allows for a theoretical limit of 300 diopters of tuning without having any moving lenses. With this key feature, the lens can be made very small but yet has a tremendous amount of tuning capability. This is very different from traditional optical lenses, which are made out of rigid material where the curvature cannot change. Hence, the only way for traditional optical systems to change its power is by changing the location of the lenses. This forces the traditional optics to be much larger, much longer, and much bigger with limited functionality. With bio-inspired fluidic lenses, the lenses are much smaller and compact with more optical function. My main contribution is in developing the fabrication process for the fluidic lens and the optical design techniques that will improve the image quality. With only one single fluidic lens, I designed a miniature optical system that can function as a regular camera, micro-mode camera, or even a microscope. With two fluidic lenses, I designed a miniature optical zoom camera that has very large optical zoom (17 mm total track and >4X optical zoom). The working distance can be as short as 2 cm, which is difficult to design with traditional lens technology. The unique functions of the optical systems are made possible with the unique function of bio-inspired fluidic zoom lens. Finally, the unique technology of this optical device has particular interest in biomedical applications, such as minimally invasive surgery, retinal camera, etc. Several functions of biomedical applications are demonstrated. Most importantly, a demonstration gallbladder removal surgery was performed solely relying on the images acquires with the miniature zoom lens developed with fluidic lenses