Tel Aviv University’s breakthrough has applications in cancer detection, security, and even gaming.
New research by Tel Aviv University will allow cameras to recognize colors that cannot be perceived by the human eye and even ordinary cameras.
This technology allows for the image of gases and substances such as hydrogen, carbon and sodium, each with a unique color in the infrared spectrum, as well as biological compounds found in nature but “invisible. “With the naked eye of ordinary cameras. It has groundbreaking applications in a wide range of fields from computer gaming and photography to security, medicine, and astronomy.
The research was carried out by Dr. Michael Mrejen, Yoni Erlich, Dr. Assaf Levanon and Professor Haim Suchowski of TAU̵7;s Department of Condensed Materials Physics. The results of the study were published on the October 2020 issue of Reviews on Laser & Photonics.
Dr. Mrejen explains: “The human eye receives photons at wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers – between the wavelengths of blue and red. “But that’s just a very small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves, microwaves, X-rays and more. Below 400 nanometers have ultraviolet or UV radiation, and above 700 nanometers have infrared radiation, itself is divided into near, medium and far infrared.
“In each of these sections of the electromagnetic spectrum, there is a lot of information about materials encoded as ‘colors’ that have so far been obscured from view.”
The researchers explain that colors in these parts of the spectrum are of great importance, as many materials have a single signature expressed as color, especially in the medium infrared range. For example, cancer cells can be easily detected because they have a higher molecular concentration of a certain type.
Current infrared detection technologies are very expensive and it is almost impossible to display those “colors”. In medical imaging, experiments have been performed in which infrared images are converted into visible light to identify cancer cells by molecules. To date, this conversion has required very complex and expensive cameras, not necessarily for general use.
But in their study, the TAU researchers were able to develop a cheap and efficient technology that could mount on a standard camera and allow the conversion of light photons from the entire pink region for the first time. mid-range to the visible region, at a frequency that the human eye and standard camera can recognize.
“We humans can see between red and blue. If we could see in the infrared, we would see that elements like hydrogen, carbon and sodium have a single color, ”explains Professor Suchowski. “So an environmental monitoring satellite can ‘see’ a pollutant emitted from a factory, or a surveillance satellite will see where the explosives or uranium are being hidden. Also, since every object emits heat in infrared rays, all this information can be seen even at night.
After patenting their invention, the researchers were developing the technology through a grant from the Innovation Agency’s KAMIN project, and they met with a number of companies based in Israel and international.
Reference: “Multi-color time – Image conversion solved by total adiabatic frequency conversion” by Michael Mrejen, Yoni Erlich, Assaf Levanon and Haim Suchowski, 20 Aug 2020, Reviews on Laser & Photonics.
DOI: 10.1002 / lpor.202000040