Australian National University (ANU) scientists have developed a new path-breaking thin film that they claim could allow people to see clearly in the dark.
The prototype tech is based on nanoscale crystals and is all set to revolutionize night-vision. It could especially benefit the defense sector, as well as make it safer to drive at night and walk home after dark.
It could also make work for police and security guards who regularly employ night vision, a lot easier and safer; current night-vision devices are really bulky and they cause chronic neck injuries.
Talking about this first-of-its-kind thin film, lead researcher Dr Rocio Camacho Morales said that they have made the ‘invisible visible’.
“Our technology is able to transform infrared light, normally invisible to the human eye, and turn this into images people can clearly see – even at distance.”
According to Morales, the technology is extremely lightweight, cheap and easy to mass produce, making them accessible to everyday users.
It is hundreds of times thinner than a human hair and can be directly applied to glasses, allowing you to see in the darkness of the night.
High-end infrared imaging tech of today requires cryogenic freezing to work and are costly to produce. The ANU tech on the other hand works at room temperatures.
“This is the first time anywhere in the world that infrared light has been successfully transformed into visible images in an ultra-thin screen,” says ANU professor Dragomir Neshev, who is also the director of the ARC Center for Excellence in Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS).
“It’s a really exciting development and one that we know will change the landscape for night vision forever.”
The technology behind the new film was made possible by an international team of scientists from TMOS, ANU, Nottingham Trent University, UNSW and European partners.
Mohsen Rahmani from Nottingham Trent University’s Advanced Optics and Photonics Lab, led the development of the nanoscale crystal films.
Image and content: Jamie Kidston/Australian National University