20/20 lenses coat body of sea creature

11:36am, August 22, 2001

Look closely enough at the arms of the brittlestar, a starfish relative, and you'd

see that those arms are looking right back at you. Each one is coated with perfect

lenses that focus light onto a nerve bundle, researchers report in the Aug. 23

Nature. Made of skeletal material, these lens structures rival recent engineering

advances in microlens arrays.

"To find them [microlens arrays] in nature is absolutely astonishing," says

physicist Roy Sambles of the University of Exeter in England.

Joanna Aizenberg of Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., and her

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