Inexpensive Smartphones – Smart phones serve many functions, including scientific instruments. With a little fiddling and printing 3D help, the maker has turned smartphones into things like microscopes, and in a paper titled “Design of compact 3D interferometry systems and telephone applications needed for small angle measurements,” a pair of researchers documented how they used Printing 3D and smartphones to make interferometers, scientific instruments that take precise measurements through interference with two beams of light.
“The working principle of the proposed interferometer is based on the formation of a circular periphery of interference due to the reflection of monochromatic light from the top and bottom of the inside of microscopic glass,” the researchers explained. “The optical path difference (OPD) between these two disturbing beams can be varied by changing the slope angle of the sliding glass with respect to the incident light beam.
Central bright edges gradually turn into dark edges with changes in OPD, and sequentially there are variations in the order of fringes with angular rotation. Smartphone cameras have been used to record interferograms, and then processed by applications specifically designed for automatic calculation of changes in fringes, shifting pixel interferogram from initial position and variation in intensity from center bangs to calculating angular rotation of sliding glass. ”
Opto-mechanical components for all systems were developed using ZW3D CAD software and then 3D was printed on the Raise N2 Plus 3D printer. Optical components such as lenses and pinholes are attached to 3D printing components. The cellphone itself is equipped with a high resolution 13 megapixel CMOS sensor. The Android application was developed for onboard paving processing and automatic evaluation of angular rotation of sliding glass.
“The use of designed optical devices has been proven to monitor small angle variations with high precision and reliability,” the researchers concluded. “This smartphone has been visualized as a platform for complex complex peripheral analysis and interferometry data processing which is a critical point in interferometry-based sensing applications.
The opto-mechanical parts needed for this work have been obtained from 3D printing technology which reduces the overall fabrication costs of the designed interferometer. In the future, the application of the proposed devices will be shown for more complex interferometry-based applications such as the determination of thin film thickness and refractive index with the required optimization in device parameters. ”
3D printing has been used to make all kinds of cheap laboratory equipment, including reactors, drug testing systems and more. The aim of the research paper is to show that complex interferometers can be made using accessible and inexpensive methods – a smartphone and 3D printing components. This device is not only cheap, user friendly and compact, making it portable enough to be carried anywhere in the field. This is the advantage of 3D printing – the ability to take complex tools and reduce them to only a few components, drastically reducing costs and sizes.
The authors of this paper include I. Hussain and P. Nath.
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