This glasses film could make night vision possible for everyone!

What if everyone could see clearly at night? An international team says it has developed a film for glasses that enable night vision. This light and economical innovation could make it possible to replace the current equipment, which is rather bulky and very expensive.

Of the semiconductor nano antennas

Popularized in cinema and video games, night vision fascinates a couple of people. Some want to make it one of their everyday skills. In 2015, bio-researchers in California were able to give one of their colleagues the ability to see in the dark by injecting Ce6 (chlorine e6) into his eye. Far from this kind of manipulation, a team of international researchers led by the Australian National University (ANU) presented a surprising innovation: a simple glasses enable night vision. Their publication in the magazine Advanced Photonics June 14, 2021 evokes a meta-surface (or a film) that converts infrared light into the visible spectrum.

Specifically, the gallium arsenide (GaAs) nanocrystals, which the researchers refer to as: semiconductor nano antennas. They are only a few hundred nanometers thick, a hundred times thinner than a human hair. Moreover, the operation of this film is entirely optical, unlike most current equipment. The latter convert the infrared light into an electrical signal before displaying it on the screen.

movie glasses night vision
Credits: Australian National University

A movie with multiple benefits

The fact is that this movie does not block normal vision. The latter acts as a filter that allows visible light to pass through. In other words, the same film can be applied to very ordinary glasses in a very simple way. In addition, this innovation does not require a power supply. It is based on a small laser combined with infrared light by the famous GaAs nanocrystals. If this is just a prototype, scientists think mass production of this movie would be cheap. Police and military may be interested in reduce the load on the equipment: worn by professionals.

It must be said that conventional infrared imaging requires the use of materials such as narrow bandgap semiconductors. However, these materials are sensitive to thermal noise and often require cryogenic refrigeration. With this gallium arsenide nanocrystal film, these limitations do not exist. Finally, it is not impossible that these types of night vision goggles could investing in a much larger marketnamely that of the general public.