We present the fabrication and implementation of low-cost optical quality 3D printed lenses, and their application as microscope objectives with different prescriptions. The imaging performance of the 3D printed lenses was benchmarked against commercially available optics including a 20 mm focal length 12.7 mm diameter NBK-7 plano-convex lens used as a low magnification objective, and a separate high magnification objective featuring three 6 mm diameter NBK-7 lenses with different positive and negative focal lengths. We describe the design and manufacturing processes to produce high-quality 3D printed lenses. We tested their surface quality using a stylus profilometer, showing that they conform to that of commercial glass counterpart lenses. The 3D printed lenses were used as microscope objectives in both brightfield and epi-fluorescence imaging of specimens including onion, cyanobacteria, and variegated Hosta leaves, demonstrating a sub-cellular resolution performance obtained with low-cost 3D printed optical elements within brightfield and fluorescence microscopy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCold Spring Harbor, NY
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2023


  • 3D printed optics
  • 3D printed lenses
  • optics
  • open microscopy


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