Night vision goggles: Australian scientists develop groundbreaking technology to combat the darkness
A group of scientists from the Australian National University continues to develop technology that will relieve the modern world of the difficulties of seeing in the dark. The development is unique in its way and at the same time will not cost a lot, like most of the innovations.
Also, a big plus is that it can be produced in large quantities and mass production around the world. It will look like a nanofilm, which will be fixed on glasses. Thanks to it, reflected infrared light will instantly turn into such, that can recognize the human eye. The film itself is planned to be ultra-thin. According to scientists, its thickness is several times thinner than one human hair. Thanks to this size, the film will be imperceptible on glasses, which people will wear at night.
In such a nanofilm, made of the smallest crystals, the principle of infrared imaging will be used. It uses special particles of gallium arsenide and infrared rays will be transformed thanks to them.
Scientists claim that it will be easier than ever to see objects at a great distance, even in complete darkness, thanks to such material. This principle of use will be revolutionary in several areas at once. Among them are optical tomography, autonomous car navigation, and also a new way to check the quality of various food products.
These days, special night vision goggles must be used to see something at night. They are inconvenient, look like binoculars, and rather bulky. They are also worn with a helmet, very heavy, and cause face and neck tiredness quite often. Such devices are usually used by law enforcement officials, the military, or representatives of special services.
And let’s imagine for a moment, that all these workers no longer need expensive technologies that are moreover inconvenient to use? This will mean that another sector will have a real breakthrough in technology. But the biggest plus is that everyone, even a child, can buy this device now. The technology itself is perfect for everyday use.
Imagine that you won’t need anymore to take out a flashlight or phone to light your way when you are walking home late at night and it is very dark around. This can be done with special glasses. You just need to purchase them, wear and you are guaranteed a clear vision at night. In addition, unlike current goggles, glasses will look the same as regular sunglasses and the weight will be similar.
The device will also be convenient for everyone who uses a car. Night driving will become comfortable. Since you don’t have to strain your eyes, you will see many times more clearly than before, scientists say.
Currently, most modern technologies that create such night vision devices work using cryogenic freezing ‒ with the help of carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen, it is used both in the food industry and in health care. However, the procedure using an infrared image isn’t cheap and requires special conditions. New technology from Australian scientists is much simpler. Since it doesn’t need anything other than room temperature conditions.
The innovative technology itself is presented in detail in the international journal of telescopes, instruments, and Advanced Photonics systems.
The development was presented by the head of the study from an international group of scientists, Rocio Camacho Morales. She stated that the device, as it was before, would no longer need a power source. And the glasses will only work on their own, thanks to the ultra-compact and thin film.
Rocio Camacho Morales proudly presented her development:
“We did what no one dared ‒ we transferred the invisible to the visible. Thanks to our technology, infrared light, which is usually not perceived by the human eye, will be converted into photons of higher energies in the visible spectrum. This will allow the development of clear images so that the user can see objects in the dark, even in the distance,” emphasized Camacho Morales.
But the director of the ARC Center for Excellence in Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS) and professor of physics at ANU Dragomir Neshev called the invention of such glasses a real breakthrough and “a truly unique achievement.”
This was the first time in history when our big team observed the conversion of infrared light into visible images. Previously, no one succeeded in such technologies. We were the first in this business, said the professor of physics.
At the moment, the team is working to improve this technology. In addition, not only Australian but also British and European researchers are involved in this unique project.
However, it is still unknown when the development will be freely available in stores and online markets. Scientists are working on a project, but no exact dates have been announced.
Professor Dragomir Neshev emphasized that with the help of new meta-surfaces and thin films it will be possible not only to see objects better but to use this technology, for example, for revising the quality of food or in various areas of optics.
Let’s note that various scientific institutions took part in the research, including scientists from TMOS, Nottingham Trent University, ANU, UNSW, and individual European scientists.
Trent Mohsen Rahmani, head of the Advanced Optics and Photonics Laboratory at the School of Science and Technology, University of Nottingham, spoke about the invention process. It was he who controlled the procedure for the development of nanoscale films from small crystals.
“Before that, we were able to show the potential of individual nanometer-sized crystals. However, this is not quite enough, because they need to be brought into ordinary life from laboratory conditions. For this, we have come a long way, because the crystals must be stacked in the form of an array,” said Mohsen Rahmani.
“And even though this is only the first experiment in which we are testing our concept, we will continue to work actively in this direction,” said Rahmani in conclusion.
Well, we can only believe that soon we will be able to go to the store and see the long-awaited glasses that will put the edge in the fight against darkness.