Researchers in Australia have developed a nano material capable of reflecting or transmitting light on demand with temperature control thereby paving way for technology that may help protect astronauts from harmful radiation.
The study, carried out by scientists at Australian National University (ANU), has been published in Advanced Functional Materials. The newly developed nano material is so thin that hundreds of layers of this material could fit on the tip of a needle and could be applied to any surface, including spacesuits.
Scientists at the university explain that their technology significantly increases the resistance threshold against harmful radiation compared to today’s technologies. The newly developed material could be tailored for other light spectrums including visible light, which opened up a whole array of innovations, including architectural and energy saving applications.
“For instance, you could have a window that can turn into a mirror in a bathroom on demand, or control the amount of light passing through your house windows in different seasons,” said Dr Miroshnichenko from the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
“What I love about this invention is that the design involved different research disciplines including physics, materials science and engineering.”
Co-lead researcher Dr Lei Xu said achieving cost-efficient and confined temperature control such as local heating was feasible.
“Much like your car has a series of parallel resistive wires on the back windscreen to defog the rear view, a similar arrangement could be used with our invention to confine the temperature control to a precise location,” said Dr Xu from the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
The innovation builds on more than 15 years of research supported by the ARC through CUDOS, a Centre of Excellence, and the Australian National Fabrication Facility. Check out interview with the scientists below: