The advent of night vision radically changed warfare. Now materials science has delivered another breakthrough -- a transparent metallic film allowing a viewer to see in the dark could one day turn regular spectacles into night vision googles.
The ultra-thin film, made of a semiconductor called gallium arsenide, could also be used to develop compact and flexible infrared sensors, scientists say. The film was developed by a team of Australian and European researchers, with details published in the magazine. Advanced photonics. It works by converting infrared light, which is normally invisible to humans, into light visible to the human eye.
The study’s first author, Dr. Rocío Camacho Morales of the Australian National University, said the material was hundreds of times thinner than a strand of human hair. Gallium arsenide is arranged in a crystalline structure only several hundred nanometers thick, allowing visible light to pass through.
“The way these night vision goggles work [is] they also capture infrared light, ”said Camacho Morales. “This infrared light turns into electrons and shows [digitally]. In our case, we are not doing this. “