Humans to see in dark as ultra-thin film turns normal glasses into night-vision goggles

Futuristic glasses fitted with an ultra-thin crystal film could help wearers see in the dark.

A transparent metallic film hundreds of times thinner than a human hair has been developed to turn normal glasses into night vision goggles.

Scientists say the technology works by converting usually invisible infrared light, into images people can see.

The cutting-edge design which has already been billed to revolutionise police and army gear, could also make night driving and walking in the dark a great deal safer for the public.

MailOnline reports the nanometre-scale crystal creation is the product of an international team involving the Australian National University (ANU) and Nottingham Trent University.

The film makes the invisible visible, scientists say

Dr Rocio Camacho Morales, ANU’s lead postdoctoral researcher said: “We have made the invisible visible.

“Our technology is able to transform infrared light, normally invisible to the human eye, and turn this into images people can clearly see – even at distance.

“We’ve made a very thin film, consisting of nanometre-scale crystals, hundreds of times thinner than a human hair, that can be directly applied to glasses and acts as a filter, allowing you to see in the darkness of the night.”

Lab testing
The breakthrough has been the work of two universities

Fans of shooter video games such as Call of Duty and Halo will be familiar with the eerie green sight generated by night vision goggles which looks a lot like tests shown of the new film.

But the prototype technology uses the film to manipulate light differently to traditional night vision goggles, says Dragomir Neshev, ANU professor in physics, MailOnline reports.

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

Night vision goggles
The technology works differently to normal night vision goggles

“It’s a really exciting development and one that we know will change the landscape for night vision forever.”

An associate professor at Nottingham Trent University said scientists on the project have faced “enormous challenges” in developing nanoscale crystal films.

Dr Mohsen Rahmani said: “We previously demonstrated the potential of individual nanoscale crystals to make this possible, but to translate such potential to our everyday life we had to overcome enormous challenges to arrange the crystals in an array fashion.

“Now, one can imagine seeing in the dark via engineered glass surfaces such as goggles, house windows, and car windscreens.

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

“In the longer term, we hope to reach a massive reduction in greenhouse gases associated with a world where the lighting was not required to see at night, particularly in areas with low-levels of urban and road illuminations.”

By (Charles Wade-Palmer)

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