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Ben-Gurion University awarded $6.5 million grant to develop nano thin infrared night vision glasses

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, December 3, 2012 A team led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has received a $6.5 million grant to develop thin film nano coating for night vision glasses. The three-year grant is from the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI).

Existing night vision systems are cumbersome, often inches thick, very heavy, expensive, and require a power supply. The nano glasses will be only a few microns thick and will operate over any eyewear.

"We will use a smart layer based on nano-photonics technologies to change invisible light to visible," explains Prof. Gabby Sarusi, a new member of the University's Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and BGU's Homeland Security Institute.

"I know what the layer architecture should be and have selected the best builder for every aspect of the glasses. The result will be like seeing at night with full moonlight," says Sarusi.

The nano glasses will consist of multiple layers of nano-colloid material that absorb the infrared light (using advanced nano-photonic techniques) and convert it to visible light using highly-efficient OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes).

"We are taking advantage of night glow as our illuminator to visualize using short wave infrared light spectrum. This is unlike night vision goggles that only amplify visible light and are therefore vulnerable to "dazzling," Sarusi explains. "In addition to the vastly improved optics and ergonomics of an extremely thin lens, the technology will be far less expensive, costing hundreds vs. thousands of dollars per pair of night vision goggles."

Prior to joining BGU, Sarusi spent 17 years at Elop, a defense-oriented electro optics 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, as well as airborne and space-borne cameras for Israel's aerial photography, Ofek satellites and hyperspectral airborne intelligence systems.

"The Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology is the only institute to be awarded more than one flagship project under the second INNI program. This reaffirms the outstanding level of research in nanotechnology at BGU," says Prof. Yuval Golan, the Institute's director.

Sarusi will lead the team of researchers which includes top scientists throughout Israel. The interdisciplinary team from BGU includes Prof. Yuval Golan and Prof. Gabriel Lemcoff, head of BGU's Department of Chemistry, among others.

Also part of the team are: Prof. Michael Bendikov from the Weizmann Institute of Science; Prof. Gil Markovich, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Amir Sa'ar and Prof. Uriel Levi, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; as well as Prof. Efrat Lifshitz from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

"We are very excited about this prestigious grant to develop technology that will save lives and provide greater mobility for military and other applications," says Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Prof. Sarusi is a significant new addition to BGU's faculty and will make major contributions within our nanotechnology and homeland security institutes."

Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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