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The world’s thinnest spectacle lenses

Tuesday 21 Jan 20

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Anders Kristensen
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 63 31
Researchers from DTU Health Tech are developing a so-called ThinLens technology to make ultra-light and ultra-thin prescription lenses.

With nano-structures made using a laser printer, even strong prescription lenses will become ultra-thin. And they will even be able to be printed in the shop immediately following an eye test. A group of researchers from DTU Health Tech is turning this vision into a reality thanks to a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark’s InnoExplorer programme.

“We produce a thin layer of nanostructures on a laser printer which we then insert into ordinary non-prescription spectacle lenses. The layer is only a few hundred nanometres thick, corresponding to less than one hundredth of the thickness of a single hair,” explains co-inventor and Professor Anders Kristensen from DTU Health Tech.

The nanostructure lens can be printed with a laser printer in less than half an hour, which will enable customers to go into a spectacle shop, have an eye test, and have the glasses made while they wait.

As well as ultra-thin lenses being far more comfortable to use, the technology will also mean a savings on the transport of lenses normally produced in Asia or in other distant destinations, thus creating jobs in Denmark. The laser printing will also reduce material consumption and waste from polishing.

The run-up years to the establishment of ThinLens have proved quite a journey. According to Professor Anders Kristensen, the team came up with the idea of technology about ten years ago, and since then they have been working hard to determine where it could do the most good.

“We’ve benefited greatly from feedback from business developers at DTU Tech Transfer which helped us sharpen our focus,” he says.

The ThinLens team also quickly involved professionals from the industry in the project, and in December 2018 they won the category ‘Excellent Science’ of the H2020 Innovation Radar Prize.

In the autumn, the project received DTU’s first InnoExplorer Grant and the team plans to use the funds to develop a pair of prototype glasses which Professor Anders Kristensen will test himself when they are hopefully ready next autumn.

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