Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have developed a latest type of night-vision technology that’s the 1st of its kind. Taking form’ of an ultra-thin film, it are often applied-directly on to glasses to act as a filter, needing only fundamental or simple laser to convert infrared-light into images the wearer can see.
The researchers’ groundbreaking film is based-on nanocrystal technology that they have been working on for many years. These tiny particles are many hundred times thinner than a person’s hair, and work by converting incoming photons from infrared into higher-energy photons on the visible-spectrum .
In 2016, the team succeeded in fabricating one among these nanocrystals onto a plane of glass for the 1st time. This was seen because the initiative in developing an array of the many tiny photon-converting crystals that together could form a film that changes the way the human eye perceives light. In continuing this work, the scientists have now produced a prototype version of this film they assert is lightweight, cheap and not complex to mass produce.
“We have made the invisible visible,” lead researcher Dr Rocio Camacho Morales said. “Our technology is in a position to transform in-frared light , normally invisible to the human eye, and convert this into images people can clearly see – even at distance. We’ve made a really thin film, consisting of nanometre-scale crystals, many hundreds of times thinner than a person’s hair, which will be directly applied to glasses and acts as a filter, allowing you to ascertain within the darkness of the night.”
Morales tells us the film requires no power source, only a small laser like those found in laser pointers, which the nanocrystals combines with the incoming infrared . In doing so, the film produces “visible images which will be seen in dark.”
Military use seems to be a clear application for the technology, where it could replace clunky and power-hungry night-vision goggles, also as similar systems used-by police & security guards. But due to its compact form, the team imagines it could even be applied to regular spectacles and find everyday uses, making it safer to drive in the dark or walk home after dark, for instance .
“This is that the first time anywhere within the world that infrared has been successfully transformed into visible images in an ultra-thin screen,” says study author Professor Dragomir Neshev. “It’s a very exciting development and one that we all know will change the landscape for night-sight forever.”
The research was published in the journal Advanced Photonics.