Glass Revealed to Contain Smart Potentials

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A new technique for implanting light-emitting nanoparticles into the glass without causing the researchers have introduced any trouble to its unique properties. It is a crucial step towards ‘smart glass’ applications like remote radiation sensors or 3D display screens.

A team of Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide have introduced a technique for introducing light producing nanoparticles into the glass without disturbing their properties. It is a novel ‘hybrid glass’ technique that successfully links the properties of special light emitting or luminescent nanoparticles with the potential traits of the glass, like the ability to transform into distinct shapes or transparency and more.

The research work illustrates the graphic representation of the nanoparticle into the glass. “Such novel light-emitting nanoparticles, known as up-conversion nanoparticles, have turned to be promising candidates for a wide variety of extraordinary tech advanced applications like biomedical imaging, 3D volumetric displays, biological sensing and more,” says lead author Dr Tim Zhao, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Physical Sciences and Institute of Advanced Sensing and Photonics (IPAS).

The integration of nanoparticles into the glass, which is normally inert, is a gateway to new exciting possibilities for novel hybrid devices and materials that can take benefit of the properties of nanoparticles in ways that we were not able to execute before. For instance, a team of neuroscientist presently utilizes dye injected into the lasers and brain to be able to monitor a glass pipette to the direction they favor. If fluorescent nanoparticles were introduced in the glass pipettes, then the unique light-emitting effect of the hybrid glass could behave like a torch to assist the pipette directly to the distinct neurons of interest.

Although such a technique was introduced with up-conversion nanoparticles, the researchers alleged that their novel ‘direct-doping’ tactic can be generalized to other nanoparticles with stimulating electronic, magnetic and photonic properties. There are numerous applications that can be served based on the properties of the nanoparticle.

“If the glass is infused with a nanoparticle, which is sensitive to radiation and then grabs that hybrid glass into a fiber, then we could think of having a remote sensor that is suitable for nuclear facilities,” says Dr. Zhao. Till date, the technique utilized for integrating up-conversion nanoparticles into the glass has rested on the in-situ progress of the nanoparticles within the glass.

“We have witnessed a remarkable advancement in this area, but the control over the glass compositions and nanoparticles has been restricted, limiting the development of numerous proposed applications,” says project leader Professor Heike Ebendorff – Heideprem, Deputy Director of IPAS.

“It is our novel direct doping technique that involved synthesizing of nanoparticles and the composition of glass independently and then linking them with the use of precise conditions. We have been successfully able to rest the nanoparticles intact and lucratively dispersed across the glass. Not only the nanoparticles have remained to be highly functional, but even the glass maintains its features and the transparency is close to its original look. It is a revolutionary result that will enable us to remain ahead of an entirely new world of hybrid devices and glass for light-based technologies.”