Scientists have created an artificial eye lens out of 800,000 layers of plastic that could revolutionise eye implants and aerial surveillance.
Based on research from 2008 published in journal Optics Express, the new plastic eye closely copies the structure of the human eye and other natural materials including tendons and butterfly wings.
Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, working with spin-off lab PolymerPlus, created the lens by stacking up layers of laminated plastic. Weighing a tenth of a traditional lens, the polymer version is up to three times more powerful and, crucially, had the capability to be flexible enough to incrementally change its refraction of light.
The new polymer lens can refract light thousands of different ways because each layer has its own refractive index. This multilayer lens design is called gradient refractive index optics, or GRIN optics. That contrasts to traditional lenses that have a single surface and a single refractive index.
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