A team led by BGU is one of only two recipients of a major grant from the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI). Prof. Gabby Sarusi, a new recruit with a long history at Elop/Elbit (defense-oriented companies), will lead a group of researchers aiming to create a thin coating that will turn invisible infrared light into visible light for night vision glasses.
As opposed to other more cumbersome and expensive night vision systems, Sarusi and his team will develop a layer one micron thick that can be layered on to any glasses. “We want to use a smart layer (based on nano-photonics technologies) to shift invisible light to visible. It would be like looking around at full moonlight,” says Sarusi.
Sarusi, a new member of the University’s Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (IKI), 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 Lemcoff, head of BGU’s Department of Chemistry, Prof. Michael Bendikov from the Organic Chemistry Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Prof. Gil Markovich, the head of the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University, Prof. Amir Sa’ar and Prof. Uriel Levi, the former head and the current head of the Nanotechnology Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem respectively and Prof. Efrat Lifshitz from the Chemistry Department of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
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 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.
It is the second FTA proposal in nanotechnology that BGU has won this year. A BGU team is also developing targeted drug delivery systems under Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences Prof. Joseph Kost. “IKI 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,” Prof. Golan asserted.
Sarusi explained why this device would be unique. "The device that 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. Unlike other groups in the world that are working in this field, we will implement the most advanced research in the field of photonic crystal and nano-photonics for efficient light coupling to the device, plasmon enhanced absorption in the photosensitive layer, efficient photons to electrical current conversion and current transport and a very high efficient Oligofuran based organic light emitting diode (OLED) for electrical current to visible light conversion. Eventually, the emitted light from the OLED will be collimated to the observer eyes using a thin layer micro-collimator array. The overall thickness of such a layer will be just a few micrometers that can be applied easily on any glasses."