Aerospace and Defense

Video: Nanomaterial Could be Radiation Shield for Astronauts

04 July 2017

This sample contains hundreds of thousands of nanoparticles that manipulate incoming light. Image credit: Stuart Hay, ANUThis sample contains hundreds of thousands of nanoparticles that manipulate incoming light. Image credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

A nanomaterial that reflects or transmits light on demand with temperature control may contribute to technology that protects astronauts or satellites in space from harmful radiation. Researchers from Australian National University (ANU) report that the material is so thin that hundreds of layers could fit on the tip of a needle and could be applied to any surface, including spacesuits.

The development demonstrates reversible thermal tuning of all-dielectric metasurfaces based on the temperature-dependent change of the refractive index of silicon. The material could be tailored for other light spectra, including visible light, which could lead to architectural and energy saving applications.

"For instance, you could have a window that can turn into a mirror in a bathroom on demand, or control the amount of light passing through your house windows in different seasons," said Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko from the Nonlinear Physics Centre within the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.



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Discussion – 3 comments

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Re: Video: Nanomaterial Could be Radiation Shield for Astronauts
#1
2017-Jul-04 1:31 PM

OK, it can be tuned for other regions of the spectrum, but how does it shield from x-rays, gamma rays, cosmic rays, death rays, etc.

Can it stop a photon torpedo? I thought not....

Re: Video: Nanomaterial Could be Radiation Shield for Astronauts
#2
2017-Jul-04 10:36 PM

I guess the operational phrase is: may contribute to technology that protects astronauts or satellites in space from harmful radiation.

Long way to go...

/In the Newtonian World

Re: Video: Nanomaterial Could be Radiation Shield for Astronauts
#3
In reply to #2
2017-Jul-05 9:03 AM

Oh well, if we already knew all the answers, we would have to call it something else besides research. We could name it golf, but that is already taken, or we could name it that other four-letter word that we were going to use to name golf, except that word was already taken also.

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