A group of researchers from the University of Michigan has managed to create a prototype lens that could get very quickly in Army: contact lens with night vision. The secret lies in a very thin strip of grapheme, a lightweight and super-strong form of carbon, placed between layers of glass.
Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, said that the graphene reacts to photons, making dark images look brighter. Needless to say that the army has shown interest in this invention that could help military soldiers wear less equipment on duty.
Contact lenses for night vision, straight from the movies
Let’s explain a bit how do the contact lens work, so let’s have a look at the grapheme. It usually absorbs only about 2.3 percent of light that comes onto contact with it, so these numbers needed to be bigger in order to achieve night vision through contact lens. The researchers taught that by combining two layers of graphene with an insulator, they would be able to increase the signal. Basically, you have the graphene is bound in hexagons in repeating sequences. And they were right, as the contact lens with the two layers of grapheme and the insulator are able to detect the full infrared spectrum, as well as ultraviolet light. Keep in mind that this material is a million times thinner than a sheet of paper.
Another great achievement is that the researchers were able to make the grapheme work at room temperature, because at first this required the graphene to be cooled using temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius.
The discovery can be applied in many areas, not just in the Army. Since by wearing them, they expand our vision, we can easily state that they can take the place of infrared devices to identify gas leaks, aid doctors in finding blood vessels. Archeologists and historians would also benefit by being able to see sketches under layers of paint.