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Nanoclusters that diffuse laser beams or create 3D telepresence

August 31, 2012 | David S. Maldow, Esq.
August 31, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


Atomic clusters of metals are an emerging class of extremely interesting materials occupying the intermediate size regime between atoms and nanoparticles. (credit: Reji Philip et al./Nano Letters)

Think of the possibilities.

University of Central Florida assistant professor  Jayan Thomas, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor Rongchao Jin, has developed a new material based on gold nanoparticles smaller than 2 nanometers, in a regime between atoms and nanoparticles called nanoclusters.

Thomas and his team found that nanoclusters developed by adding atoms in a sequential manner could provide interesting new optical properties that make them suitable for creating surfaces that would diffuse laser beams of high energy.

Protecting pilots and instruments from laser beams

Think of commercial pilots or fighter pilots' glasses or helmet shield could be coated with nanoclusters that potentially diffuse high-energy beams of light, such as laser beams.

Highly sensitive instruments needed for navigation and other applications could also be protected in case of an enemy attack using high-energy laser beams.

Real time 3D telepresence 

Thomas is also exploring the use of these particles in the polymer material used for 3D telepresence to make it more sensitive to light. If successful, it can take current polymers a step closer to developing real time 3D telepresence.

3D-Telepresence, aka the holodeck, would provide a holographic illusion to a viewer who is present in another location by giving that person a 360-degree view (in 3D) of everything that's going on. It's a step beyond 3-D and is expected to revolutionize the way people see television and in how they participate in activities around the world. For example, by allowing a viewer to "walk around" a remote location as if in a virtual game, a surgeon could help execute a complicated medical procedure from thousands of miles away.

Others who contributed to the new material include: Reji Philip from the UCF's NanoScience Technology Center, Panit Chantharasupawong from UCF's College of Optics and Photonics, and Huifeng Qian from Department of Chemistry at the Carnegie Mellon University.

I wonder what would happen if they combined this with a metamaterial? A diffusion-based cloaking device?

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