Scientists at the Australian National University have developed the world's thinnest camera lens, 8 times thinner than the previous record, opening up new opportunities in the fields of medicine and nanotechnology.

Dr Larry Lu from the ANU's Research School of Engineering said on Friday that the technology could be used in mainstream industry through the development of flexible computer and television screens.

"This type of material is the perfect candidate for future flexible displays," Lu said in a statement released on Friday.

The new lens is made of molybdenum disulphide, a flexible glass material with electronic characteristics.

"Molybdenum disulphide is an amazing crystal," Lu said, "It survives at high temperatures, is a lubricant, a good semiconductor and can emit photons too."

The lens developed at the Canberra-based ANU is just 6.3 nanometers thick compared to the 50 nanometers thick one, which is currently the thinnest.

Lu said it will now be possible to use arrays of micro lenses to mimic the compound eyes of insects.

The revolution in miniature cameras are also tipped to have widespread effects in medicine, as the lens is one two-thousandth the thickness of a human hair.