A team of researchers create the smallest camera in the world with 3D microprinting


CATEGORY: Medical advances

The device is prepared to study heart disease and is the thickness of a human hair. It is so small that researchers have been able to scan into the blood vessels of the mice

Kelly Brown


A team of researchers led by the University of Adelaide and the University of Stuttgart has used 3D microprinting to develop the world's smallest flexible device for looking inside blood vessels.


The camera-like imaging device can be inserted into blood vessels to provide high-quality 3D images to help scientists better understand the causes of a heart attack and the progression of heart disease, and could lead to better treatment and prevention.


In a study published in the journal Light: Science & Applications, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians was able to 3D print a small lens at the end of an optical fiber, about the thickness of human hair. The imaging device is so small that the researchers were able to scan into the mice's blood vessels.


Dr. Jiawen Li, co-author and postdoctoral fellow of the Heart Foundation at the Institute for Advanced Photonics and Detection at the University of Adelaide, claims that only in Australia cardiovascular disease kills a person every 19 minutes. "An important factor in heart disease is plaques, made up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances that build up on the vessel walls," announces Dr. Li. “Preclinical and clinical diagnoses increasingly rely on visualizing the structure of blood vessels to better understand the disease. Miniaturized endoscopes, which act like tiny cameras, allow doctors to see how these plaques form and explore new ways to treat them. "


Dr. Simon Thiele, head of the Optical Design and Simulation Group at the University of Stuttgart, was responsible for the manufacture of the small lens. "Until now, we couldn't make high-quality endoscopes that small," says Dr. Thiele. "By using 3D microprinting, we can print complicated lenses that are too small to see with the naked eye. The complete endoscope, with a protective plastic housing, is less than half a millimeter in diameter. "




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