“The team, headed by Dr. Nils Wilhelm Rosemann of the Philipps-Universität Marburg, designed their compound of tin and sulfur, and with a diamondoid-like structure, then coating this scaffolding with organic ligands,” the Sci News website reveals.
The laser fires at a clear film of molecules consisting of tin and sulfur atoms arranged in a diamond-like pattern and surrounded by organic groups.
The molecules in the film absorb the IR photons and re-emit that energy as higher-energy visible light photons.
“When a laser directs near-infrared light into the compound, the structure of the compound alters the wavelength of the light through a non-linear interaction process, producing light at wavelengths that are visible to the human eye,” the website describes.
“The visible part of the spectrum resembles the color of a tungsten-halogen lamp at 2,900 Kelvin while retaining the superior beam divergence of the driving laser,” the researchers said.
It is non-volatile, air-stable, and thermally stable up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius).
While this kind of conversion isn’t new, according to the journal Science, where the researchers published their findings, what is unique is that the tin and sulfur film can direct the light into a single beam.
Whereas most older conversion materials send out their visible photons in random directions, this new technique sends the light out in the same direction it came in.
That gives it the ability to direct beams of light in specific places, making the material useful for microscopes and novel projection systems.
“The emitted light is also exceedingly directional, a desirable quality for devices like microscopes that require high spatial resolution, or for applications with high throughput, such as projection systems,” the researchers say.
This development could open up new routes for advanced directed illumination technologies, especially since the materials used in this system are cheap, readily available, and easily scalable, Sci News further explains.