Light-Bending Nanocrystal Discovered, Could Be Used To Create Ultra-Light Night Vision Glasses

First Posted: Dec 12, 2016 04:49 AM EST

Scientists in Australia invented a light-bending nanocrystal that is about 500 times smaller than a human hair. This novel crystal could transform a pair of regular glasses into night vision glasses or turn them into reverse sunglasses.

The study was presented at the Australian Institute of Physics Congress in Brisbane this week and printed in Nano Letters. It was led by Dragomir Neshev at the Australian National University and other colleagues. Neshev said that the nanocrystals are so small that they could be fitted as an ultra-thin film to normal eyeglasses to enable night vision.

nanocrystal is a particle that has at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers. It is comprised of atoms in either a single or polycrystalline arrangement. Once nanocrystal is embedded in solid, it exhibits much more complex melting behavior than the conventional solids and creates the basis of a special class of solid. The silicon nanocrystal could generate light emission. On the other hand, the bulk silicon may be used for memory components.

In the study, the researchers could fabricate the crystals right onto regular glasses. This makes it much more versatile than other light-bending materials.

Mohsen Rhanmani, one of the researchers, explained that human's eyes see objects only in the visible spectrum. He further explained that if they can fabricate an array of other nanostructures on the flat surface like glass, at the end of the day, they could be able to transform invisible light into visible light.

The nanocrystals have other uses besides converting the regular glasses into night-vision glasses. They could also generate powerful new holograms.

"This tiny device could have other exciting uses including in anti-counterfeit devices in bank notes, imaging cells for medical applications and holograms," said Neshev. Currently, the team fabricates a form of crystal 500 times smaller than a human hair directly onto the glass, according to Science Alert. 

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