Elastomeric PDMS Planoconvex Lenses Fabricated by a Confined Sessile Drop Technique

The ubiquity of high quality smartphones at affordable prices not only accelerated the social penetration in the global population but also promoted nontraditional usage of smartphones as point-of-care medical diagnostic devices, sensors, and portable digital microscopes. This paper reveals a simple, rapid, cost-effective, and template-free technique for mass-scale production of an elastomeric PDMS (ePDMS) planoconvex lens capable of converting a smartphone into a portable digital microscope. By taking advantage of the resistance to spreading of liquid by a sharp edge, highly stable spherical cap of viscous liquid PDMS (lPDMS) on a smooth PMMA circular disk was fabricated. The axisymmetric spreading of lPDMS under the gravitational force and interfacial tension force enable the formation of spherical cap with a certain radius of curvature. A thermal treatment at 80 °C for 30 min cured the spherical cap lPDMS into a bubble-free ePDMS planoconvex lens. Lenses with focal lengths of 55.2–3.4 mm could be reproducibly fabricated by adjusting the volume of dispensed lPDMSs and diameter of PMMA disks. High-resolution panoramic microscope images without a distortion of small cylindrical object could be constructed on-the-fly using the imbedded smartphone app. Applications of the smartphone digital microscope equipped with an ePDMS planoconvex lens for imaging of micro printings, gun shot residues, cylindrical objects, and bullet toolmarks were explored.