Imagine a system that hides an object’s heat signature from others, appearing as if it has the same temperature as its environment. In recent reports, researchers have achieved a thermal camouflage where objects can reconfigure and blend in with varying climate conditions in a matter of seconds.
Thermal cameras sense an object’s infrared radiation, which changes levels depending on the target’s temperature. Thus, night-vision devices depict warm-blooded animals, such as humans, more vividly when compared to a cooler backdrop.
Previous attempts at thermal camouflage have encountered a myriad of problems, including rigid materials, lack of adaptability, and slow response speed.
This new development attacks the issue with a top and bottom electrode. The top electrode is made of graphene layers, while the bottom consists of a gold coating on heat-resistant nylon. A membrane saturated with an ionic liquid, containing both positively and negatively charged ions, sits between the two electrodes.
When this configuration encounters a small voltage, the ions start their journey into the graphene. The system’s surface therefore exhibits temperature stealth by lowering the infrared radiation emissions.
Experiments demonstrated the successful concealment of a human hand.
“We anticipate that, the electrical control of thermal radiation would impact on a variety of new technologies ranging from adaptive IR optics to heat management for outer space applications,” according to the research paper’s abstract, published in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) journal Nano Letters.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense