Israelis create layer for night-vision glasses
BGU team create a thin coating that could turn any pair of glasses into night-vision using invisible infrared light.
Eye glasses Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
A thin coating that could turn any pair of glasses into night-vision glasses
using invisible infrared light is being developed by a team at the Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev in Beersheba. BGU is only one of two recipients of a
major grant from the Israel National Nanotechnology Institute to create the
The team is led by Prof. Gabby Sarusi, who has a long history at
the defense oriented companies Elop/Elbit, will lead a group of researchers
aiming to create the coating. Unlike cumbersome and expensive night vision
systems, Sarusi and his team will develop a one-micronthick “smart layer” to
coat any glasses.
Based on nan-photonics technologies, it would shift
invisible light to visible rays and “would be like looking around at full
moonlight,” says Sarusi. The glasses will weigh less than 50 gram and need onl a
tiny 20-volt battery to function through the night. The device would have not
only security applications, but also medical uses and others.
member of the university’s Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and
Technology (IKI), Sarusi says: “I knew what the layer architecture should be. I
was looking for the best builder for each part of the layer.” To that end, he
has put together an interdisciplinary team including Prof. Yuval Golan, head of
IKI, Prof. Gabriel Lemkoff, head of BGU’s Department of Chemistry, and Prof.
Michael Bendikov from the organic chemistry department at the Weizmann Institute
of Science; Prof. Gil Markovitz, the head of the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv
University; Prof. Amir Saa'r and Prof. Uriel Levi, the former and the current
head of the nanotechnology institute at the Hebrew University; and Prof. Efrat
Lifshitz from the chemistry department of the Technion-Israel Institute of
Sarusi spent 17 years at Elop, an electrooptics company that
merged with Elbit Systems in 2000. At Elop, Sarusi was in charge of developing
the next generation of thermal imaging night vision systems, airborne and
spaceborne cameras for Israel’s aerial photography, Ofek satellites and
hyperspectral airborne intelligence systems.
The five-year Focal
Technological Area (FTA) proposal was recently approved by the International
Nano- Science and Technology Advisory Board (INAB). In its report, the advisory
board praised the quality and accomplishments of Sarusi and his team. The board
wrote that they recommended the project because it was focused with a high
likelihood of technological success and a large potential contribution to the
economic potential of Israel.
“The device we will develop is a photons-
starving device where every photon counts and the conversion efficiency from
infrared photon to visible photon is the crucial issue,” says
“Unlike other groups in the world that are working in this field,
we will implement the most advanced research in the field.”