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3D-printing lenses for a Random Access Parallel (RAP) microscope
Deadline 29 February 2024

We have a paid summer research opportunity for a promising 3rd, 4th or 5th year student with a keen interest in biophotonics.

Work location: This is a collaborative project between the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. As such, work will be undertaken in labs at both these universities.

UofG supervisors: Dr Sharika Mohanan, Dr Caroline Müllenbroich

UofS supervisors: Dr Liam Rooney, Prof Gail McConnell

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a student in 3rd, 4th or 5th year interested in experimental research in optical engineering.

Required:  Basic optics knowledge. Experience working with optoelectronic devices (cameras, LEDs), open-source microcontrollers (Arduino, Raspberry Pi etc.) will be beneficial.  The project involves 3D printing and prototyping.

Desirable: Interest in translational biomedical research.


Project description:

Optical systems that can image multi well plates quickly with high fidelity, have wide reaching applications in biomedical research such as screening, functional and behavioural studies. We recently developed the Random-Access Parallel microscope (RAP) that can image multiple samples, placed for example in a standard 96 well plate, near-simultaneously [1]. This is achieved by using a parabolic reflector, giving the system a large field of view compared to conventional microscopes. One drawback of our current design, however, is the use of individual glass lenses mounted in custom-made 3D printed arrays to act as “microscope objective” for each well respectively. This poses a limitation on alignment accuracy and also increases the cost of the system.

Recently, researchers at Strathclyde University have demonstrated that it is possible to manufacture 3D printed lenses using consumer-grade 3D printers and spin coating setups. They have shown that the 3D printed lenses had comparable performance to classical glass lenses in terms of optical transmissivity and beam characteristics. Moreover, they have shown that it is possible to resolve subcellular structures in a bright field microscope over a 2.3mm field of view with the 3D printed lenses.

The student will be co-supervised by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and work on this project will involve labs at both universities. The student will custom-design and manufacture lenses at Strathclyde university for incorporation into an existing RAP microscope setup based at the university of Glasgow. The student will then characterise and quantify the optical performance of the lenses and benchmark their performance in the microscope against the RAP operating with classical glass lenses.   This project is ideal for someone who is interested in building, optimising and characterising optical systems using additive manufacturing for quick prototyping. You will have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary environment and learn about the process academic research. For further information on the project please contact

To express your interest in applying, we encourage you to reach out as soon as possible to

Apply: To make an application you will need to submit a CV, two references, proof of qualifications (requirement is minimum of 3rd year in a bachelor’s degree) and a cover letter explaining why you are interested in this project and what skills you bring that will allow you to succeed.


[1] Ashraf, M., Mohanan, S., Sim, B.R., Tam, A., Rahemipour, K., Brousseau, D., Thibault, S., Corbett, A.D. and Bub, G., 2021. Random access parallel microscopy. Elife, 10, p.e56426.

[2] Rooney, Liam M., et al. "Printing, Characterising, and Assessing Transparent 3D Printed Lenses for Optical Imaging." bioRxiv (2023): 2023-11.

[3] Christopher, Jay, et al. "Low-cost 3D printed lenses for brightfield and fluorescence microscopy." bioRxiv (2023): 2023-11.

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