MIT's venerable Technology Review reports that a team of Canadian researchers led by Edward Sargent have devised a highly sensitive infrared chip
that could potentially make night-vision
goggles and other imaging devices both cheaper and more effective by using, what else, nanotechnology
. The system involves spinning a glass slide or silicon chip to evenly coat it with a special solution of conducting nanoparticles called quantum dots -- something that can be done for as little as $17 per square meter, Sargent says. With the solution, the chip is able to pick up both the near and short-wave infrared (SWIR) bands, allowing for accurate night vision even in cloudy conditions. What's more, Sargent says the technology could also be applied to medical devices, since SWIR light can apparently easily pass through tissue at no risk to the patient. Your guess is as good as ours as to when we'll actually see any of this outside of the lab, but with the promise of higher yields than traditional fabrication processes, there's definitely an incentive to push this tech out the door.