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Revolutionary ultra-thin technology to revolutionize night vision – “We made the invisible visible”

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Dr Rocio Camacho Morales says researchers have made “the invisible, the visible”. Credit: Jamie Kidston, Australian National University

Let there be light! The ultra-thin film could one day be used on reading glasses.

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have developed new technology that allows people to see clearly in the dark, revolutionizing night vision.

The one-of-a-kind thin film, featured in a new article published in Advanced photonics, is ultra-compact and could one day work on standard glasses.

Researchers say the new technology prototype, based on nanoscale crystals, could be used for defense, while making it safer to drive at night and walk after dark.

The team also claims that the work of police and security guards – who regularly use night vision – will be easier and safer, reducing chronic neck injuries caused by night vision devices currently in bulk.

“We have made the invisible visible,” said lead researcher Dr Rocio Camacho Morales.

“Our technology is able to transform infrared light, normally invisible to the human eye, into images that people can clearly see, even from a distance.

“We made a very thin film, made up of nanoscale crystals, hundreds of times thinner than a human hair, which can be applied directly to eyeglasses and acts as a filter, allowing you to see into the eye. darkness of the night. “

The technology is extremely light, inexpensive and easy to mass produce, making it accessible to everyday users.

Currently, high-end infrared imaging technology requires cryogenic freezing to function and is expensive to produce. This new technology works at room temperature.

Dragomir Neshev, director of the ARC Center of Excellence in Transformative Meta-Optic Systems (TMOS) and professor of physics at ANU, said the new technology used meta-surfaces, or thin films, to manipulate light in new ways.

“This is the first time in the world that infrared light has been successfully transformed into images visible on an ultra-thin screen,” said Professor Neshev.

“This is a really exciting development and we know it will forever change the night vision landscape.”

The new technology was developed by an international team of researchers from TMOS, ANU, Nottingham Trent University, UNSW and European partners.

Mohsen Rahmani, Head of the Advanced Optics and Photonics Laboratory at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University, led the development of crystalline films at the nanoscale.

“We have previously demonstrated the potential of individual nanoscale crystals, but to harness them in our daily lives, we have had to overcome enormous challenges to organize the crystals into a network,” he said.

“Although this is the first proof of concept experiment, we are actively working to advance the technology. “

Reference: “Infrared upconversion imaging in nonlinear metasurfaces” by Rocio Camacho-Morales, Davide Rocco, Lei Xu, Valerio Flavio Gili, Nikolay Dimitrov, Lyubomir Stoyanov, Zhonghua Ma, Andrei Komar, Mykhaylo Lysevych, Alexander Fouad Karouta, . Har Dreischuh, Hoe H. Tan, Giuseppe Leo, Costantino De Angelis, Chennupati Jagadish, Andrey E. Miroshnichenko, Mohsen Rahmani and Dragomir N. Neshev, June 14, 2021, Advanced photonics.
DOI: 10.1117 / 1.AP.3.3.036002