Nightvision Contact Lenses Could Be Created After Scientists Invent New Sensor

It may sound like something out of a science fiction TV series, but night vision contact lenses could be about to become reality, new research has shown. The electrical engineering department at the University of Michigan has come up with a new way to use two layers of graphene (which is two atom thick layers of carbon), to sense infrared light. Unlike previous methods of using the substance, it does not have to be cooled to ultra low temperatures. It is also very small and thin.

Zhaohui Zhong, and Ted Norris are the researchers involved. Originally they had a major issue to overcome, Graphene isn’t that sensitive to light, which is important for nightvision contact lenses. In a statement, Zhong said that the sensitivity to light of graphite is up to a thousand times lower than what commercial night vision contact lenses would require. To solve this the researchers decided to run an electrical current alongside the graphene, they then would measure that. What they found, which was published in Nature Nanotechnology last month, is that when the light hits the graphene layer it has an impact on the flowing electricity that is below it. This then creates a signal of electricity, that can be turned into a night vision image.

Zhong went on to say that if this were integrated with contact lenses (or any other type of wearable electronics), it could expand vision, and give people more ways to interact with the world around them. It won’t be coming in the very near future however as the technology needs to improve its sensitivity, and performance. It is small enough already though, so that hurdle has been overcome. Much work is required to create a viable product, but it shows a lot of promise for the future.

Oli Graham
Source: the verge

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