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Opt Express. 2007 Dec 24;15(26):18082-8.

Lensless light focusing with the centric marine diatom Coscinodiscus walesii.

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  • 1National Council of Research-Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems-Department of Naples, Via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Naples, Italy.


In this work, we report on the light focusing ability exploited by the microshell of a marine organism: the Coscinodiscus wailesii diatom. A 100 microm spot size of a red laser beam is narrowed up to less than 10 microm at a distance of 104 microm after the transmission through the regular geometry of the diatom structure, which thus acts as a microlens. Numerical simulations of the electromagnetic field propagation show a good qualitative agreement with the experimental results. The focusing effect is due to the superposition of the waves scattered by the holes present on the surface of the diatom valve. Very interesting applications in micro-optic devices are feasible due to the morphological and biological characteristic of these unicellular organisms.

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