The normal glasses people are wearing will soon be cooler thanks to nanocrystals. With our eyes’ poor ability to see in the dark, night vision glasses will be of great help for maneuvering around places despite the absence of light.
We humans have poor night vision because our eyes lack tapetum lucidum, a layer of tissue in the eye that reflects light back through the retina which increases available light for us to see in the dark.
To make up for it, night vision goggles are invented to allow us to see better in low light conditions.
Bulky Night Vision Goggles
The night vision goggles of today do the job, but they are bulky and power-hungry. And how it works is quite technical.
Basically, photons are converted into electrons through the light of a near-infrared spectrum. This light will then illuminate a phosphor screen inside the device which produces the image that we see. All this process requires plenty of power.
Nanocrystals For Night Vision Glasses, Without Added Weight
Researchers at Australian National University (ANU) were able to find a new type of nanocrystals that can grant us night vision. Moreover, electricity will completely be ditched.
Co-researcher Mohsen Rahmani says they no longer need electricity as they “directly convert light to light.” This is made possible through the conversion of incoming photons into other photons from the infrared light to the visible spectrum.
In order for light to pass through the nanocrystal, it is concocted on a plane of glass – a first time for this method to be used. Currently, there is a single nanoparticle, with a width of 300 nanometers, for the prototype.
When thousands or millions of nanoparticle arrays are created, a metamaterial surface can be built which will be applied to glass.
Conversion of Light
Rahmani says with millions of nanocrystals, there will be a lot of room and capability to work with all frequencies and colors. This can create a surface that is capable of capturing invisible light and converting it into visible light.
Moreover, because nanocrystals are so tiny, they can easily fit as an “ultra-thin film” for our standard specs, according to the studies’ lead author Dragomir Neshev.
Further research and development are still required to make the device more efficient, though, especially when the nanoparticles need too much light for conversion to happen.
The advancement of night vision glasses with nanocrystals, nonetheless, is still a remarkable breakthrough that can be applied to holograms and imaging cells.
Photo source: Flickr