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Tech Industry

Scientists craft nano night goggles

Nanotechnology may result in cheaper night vision goggles.

Tiny pyramids of molecules commonly used in communications chips could potentially reduce the cost and increase the performance of night vision goggles, according to research results from the University of Southern California and the University of Texas.

The two universities announced that researchers have developed sensors with quantum dots that can detect infrared radiation at the same levels as sensors in the night vision goggles currently used by the military. The quantum dots consist of different materials and rely on different physical properties for detecting infrared than existing sensors. Each dot has a core of indium arsenide surrounded by gallium arsenide and an indium-gallium arsenide alloy. A single dot is about 20 nanometers in base size and about 4 nanometers in height.

Conceivably, quantum dot sensors could cost about one-third as much and outperform existing models.