Have a difficult time seeing properly at night? A team at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel, is developing a technology that could turn any pair of glasses into night vision spectacles.
BGU’s professor Gabby Sarusi is leading the development team to create this ultra-thin “smart-layer,” which is reported by The Jerusalem Post to be only “one-micron thick.” This development has caught the eye of many institutions, including the Israel National Nanotechnology Institute, as current night vision technology tends to be bulky and expensive. According to Sarusi, the glasses will weigh less than 50 grams and will only require a 20-volt battery to function through the night. Additionally, unlike night vision goggles, which only amplify visible light, the multiple layers of nanocolloid materials will absorb both existing and invisible rays of light, allowing the nanophotonics film to capture these rays and convert them into visible light.
“In addition to the vastly improved optics and ergonomics of an extremely thin lens,” Sarusi added, “the technology will be far less expensive, costing hundreds versus thousands of dollars per pair of night vision goggles.” While the development could be applied to numerous fields, its most applicable sector is security. Sarusi previously worked for Elop (which merged in 2010 with Elbit Systems to become the largest electro-optics company outside of the US), developing night imaging and thermal imaging sensors.
While still in development, the team was recently awarded a $6.5 million grant from the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative. Sarusi stated the team’s success is due to the technology’s ability to work with whatever light is available to it. “The device we will develop is a photons-starving device where every photon counts and the conversion efficiency from infrared photon to visible photon is the crucial issue. Unlike other groups in the world that are working in this field, we will implement the most advanced research in the field.”