A light in the dark

Researchers have created an ultra-thin device that turns darkness into visible light

19 Dec 2016 by Olivia Wannan

A film fitted onto a pair of standard spectacles could soon be all that is necessary for perfect night vision, after a development by Australian researchers.

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have created a nanocrystal that is close to 500 times smaller than a human hair, yet still capable of converting darkness into visible light.

ANU physicist, Professor Dragomir Neshev, explained that: “The nanocrystals are so small, they could be fitted as an ultra-thin film to normal eyeglasses to enable night vision.”

He added: “This tiny device could have other exciting uses, including anti-counterfeit devices in bank notes, imaging cells for medical applications and holograms.”

PhD student, Maria del Rocio Camacho-Morales, highlighted that: “This is the first time anyone has been able to achieve this feat, because growing [such components] on a transparent material is very difficult.”

The research was published in the journal Nano Letters.

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