Mechanically deformable lenses with dynamically tunable focal lengths have been developed in this work. The fabricated five types of aspheric polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) lenses presented here have an initial focal length of 7.0, 7.8, 9.0, 10.0 and 10.2 mm. Incorporating two modes of operation in biconvex and concave-convex configurations, the focal lengths can be tuned dynamically as 5.2-10.2, 5.5-9.9, 6.6-11.9, 6.1-13.5 and 6.6-13.5 mm respectively. Additive manufacturing was utilized to fabricate these five types of aspheric lenses (APLs) via sequential layering of PDMS materials. Complex structures with three-dimensional features and shorter focal lengths can be successfully produced by repeatedly depositing, inverting and curing controlled PDMS volume onto previously cured PDMS droplets. From our experiments, we empirically found a direct dependence of the focal length of the lenses with the amount (volume) of deposited PDMS droplets. This new mouldless, low-cost, and flexible lens fabrication method is able to transform an ordinary commercial smartphone camera into a low-cost portable microscope. A few microscopic features can be readily visualized, such as wrinkles of ladybird pupa and printed circuit board. The fabrication technique by successively applying hanging droplet and facile mechanical focal-length-tuning set-up can be easily adopted in the development of high-performance optical lenses.
- Aspheric lens