New nanocrystal material turns infrared into visible light

first_imgHumans can’t see into the infrared like some animals, but we may soon be able to easily convert infrared into light we can see. Researchers from Germany have succeeded in creating a new material that can convert infrared light into visible light. This feat has been accomplished before, but this material is more stable and effective. The team believes its new nanocrystal mixture has the potential to be used in the real world because of it.The material is composed mainly of sulfur and atomic tin powder. These atoms were coaxed into a diamond shape, then coated with organic ligands to bind them together. When a near infrared laser is passed through these crystals, it comes out the other side in the visible spectrum.Scientists have created materials that are capable of doing this in the past, but they weren’t practical. For one, these materials could only convert infrared to visible light by scattering the photons, which is often not what you want outside of a laboratory setting. Many of them are also non-stable at room temperature or when exposed to air. Again: not great for practical use.By contrast, the German researchers found their nanocrystals are highly stable, able to withstand contact with air indefinitely and exposure to temperatures as high as 572 degrees F. More importantly, infrared light that passes through the material comes out the other side with a modified wavelength only. The direction of the light was not changed. The researchers note that the light it produced was soft, in the same range as tungsten bulbs. However, the visible light can be tuned by changing the qualities of the IR beam.There’s potential this material could be of use in scientific instruments that deal with infrared visualization. On the consumer side, it could have applications in display and projector technology.last_img

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