Adding to the potential horror that could be the one-day widespread adoption of Google Glass, a few sneaky researchers at the University of Michigan have come up with a new twist on a the vintage x-ray-specs peepshow-kink:
-On a Contact Lens.
Not only capable of detecting the entire Near, Mid, and Far Infrared spectrum of light but also UV, their invention is yet another application of that newest wonder-material: Graphene.
And it’s in-part because Graphene is so thin that they can put their contraption right on the lens. In-fact, the researchers have Already scaled the whole device size down to about 1 square centimeter.
The trick of it actually working involves some very creative thinking.
-You see the researchers ran into the same problem that all non-super-cooled, non-beer-can-sized-forehead-mounted IR detectors run into: Even the mighty Graphene just couldn’t capture enough of the light.
They needed an Amplifier.
And normally, this is where I’d send you to the Links to check out the rest, but the explanation is so damn complicated, I’ll just try to make sense of it here.
What they figured out is a hack to make it sort-of like an inverted CRT TV-screen.
Instead of just 1 sheet of Graphene, the scientists used 2, the back one electrically-charged, and then sandwiched an Insulator with holes in-between.
Now, when the light-photon hits the first one, the charge in the second sheet attracts the electron that the photon kicked-loose over to it.
This then creates a now-Very-detectable-effect in the front sheet, sort-of like when you put your finger on the surface of one of those sweet-a** 1990s Sharper-Image-Style Lightning Globes.
At that point, you can map where the little bits of IR & UV light all hit, and piece together the mosaic of what’s hitting where with what intensity.
…And then after a few more careful calculations, you go try to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger with a laser-spear-mounted nuclear-wristwatch, because you’re now a batsh** homicidal alien rasta cockroach.
Either way just like any of these new advances that come along, Predator-Contacts are so theoretical, they’re quite madly far-off into the future.
-Okay except the part where the size-issue was already conquered.
But, nobody’s yet put a “safe” display on anything closer to the eye than the dreaded Glass and the actual paper doesn’t even discuss those eventualities, only the possibilities because Graphene’s so thin.
Regardless, at a grand total of 2 Atoms Thick, not counting the holey resistor-channel-sheet, and basically one contiguous light-driven-amplifying-transistor, you just KNOW some Dr. Evil at General Dynamics, or the Tokyo Subway Administration as the case may be, is absolutely Salivating over the prospects for this tech -Right Now-.
Check out the rest of the nerdy-details over at the Links:
“Plasma Splash”, by Rafaela Bueno
“Mantis Shrimp”, by Flickr user Nazir Amin
• Source: UMich-Graphene IR Detectors
• via: Gizmodo
• Source Study: Nature-Graphene photodetectors with ultra-broadband and high responsivity at room temperature