|Imagine a window that could instantly turn into mirror - the possibility
is real, thanks to a breakthrough in nanotechnology by researchers at
the Australian National University (ANU).
They have developed a material that promises to protect astronauts from
harmful radiation, as well as practical uses closer to home.
ANU researchers have dubbed their invention a 'smart mirror', and all
that is needed for it to change is an adjustment to its temperature. The
mirror consists of many dielectric nanoparticles which are carefully
designed and arranged within a single layer. The layer of nanoparticles
are spread so thin that they are just 0.00005 of a millimetre apart.
Until now, optical silicates have only achieved one function. But with a
switch in heat, the new one promises to transform - to either absorb,
reflect or emit light and radiation. The film is thin enough to coat a
pin head hundreds of times, and could be applied to any surface, such as