Australian scientists have created a tiny crystal that turns darkness into light

Maria del Rocio Camacho-Morales. Image: ANU

Scientist have grown a nano crystal 500 times smaller than a human hair which could be used to create lightweight night vision glasses.

The night vision glasses could replace the cumbersome and bulky binoculars currently in use, says Professor Dragomir Neshev from the Australian National University’s Nonlinear Physics Centre.

“The nano crystals are so small they could be fitted as an ultra-thin film to normal eye glasses to enable night vision,” says Neshev.

“This tiny device could have other exciting uses including in anti-counterfeit devices in bank notes, imaging cells for medical applications and holograms.”

PhD student Maria del Rocio Camacho-Morales says the team built the device on glass so that light could pass through.

“This is the first time anyone has been able to achieve this feat, because growing a nano semi-conductor on a transparent material is very difficult,” says Camacho-Morale.

The research is published in the journal Nano Letters and is being presented to the Australian Institute of Physics Congress in Brisbane this week.

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