BGU Develops Technology to See in the Dark
March 15, 2018
The Times of Israel — BGU researchers have developed a low-cost infrared sensor that can be used to create the world’s thinnest night-vision glasses, as well as revolutionize smartphones and self-driving cars.
Prof. Gabby Sarusi in the BGU Unit of Electro-Optical Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, has developed a double-sided stamp-like device. One side reads 1,500-nanometer infrared wavelengths and converts them to images that are visible to the human eye on the other side.
This stamp is basically a film that is half a micron in thickness and is composed of nano-metric layers, nano-columns and metal foil, which transform infrared images into visible images.
“The film can be put in front of normal glasses or telescopes,” says Prof. Sarusi, “transforming them into infrared devices. It can also be placed onto simple vision sensors, transforming them into infrared sensors with the ability to see objects that the human eye cannot.”
The technology could help replace the heavy night goggles used by soldiers with lightweight, low-power consumption glasses. “The technology relies upon nanotech and physics, with the only electronic component being a small battery,” says Prof. Sarusi.
“But there are wider and even more interesting applications to the technology,” he explains. For example, in the area of autonomous cars. Such a device could be used on sensors for autonomous cars to improve vision by converting infrared light into visible light and allowing better vision in fog and darkness.
In addition, infrared sensors are not affected by sunlight, something that confuses today’s regular sensors. They are also produced at a low cost, making them affordable for mass production.
“Sensors are an essential component of self-driving cars,” says Prof. Sarusi.“They need to be inexpensive.”
The University is already at the stage of licensing out the technology and setting up a startup to further develop the product.
This article is excerpted from a story by Shoshanna Solomon, a fellow of AABGU’s 2018 Murray Fromson Journalism Fellowship.