Whether you like your lenses clear, red, green, blue or purple, virtually any color could be obtained instantly by tuning a tiny electronic knob in the frame, the researchers say. Their study was described today at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
“Through polymer chemistry, we’ve developed lenses that aren’t like anything else on the market. This could be the fashion statement of the future,” says Chunye Xu, Sc.D., a chemical engineer at the University of Washington and associate director of the University’s Center for Intelligent Materials and Systems (C.I.M.S.).
The lenses of the ‘smart’ sunglasses feature a unique type of electrochromic polymer that has the ability to change levels of darkness and color in the presence of an electric current. Researchers have been developing electrochromic polymers for decades, but Xu’s lab is one of just a few using the technology to develop improved eyewear.
Xu has developed a prototype of the eyewear that demonstrates the feasibility of these color-changing sunglasses. Powered by a tiny battery, the prototype shades currently resemble a pair of laboratory goggles with a button attached to the frame. Turning the button activates the battery and dials up the desired color, the researcher says. Ultimately, the sunglasses can be manufactured to resemble the size and shape of regular sunglasses and should cost about the same, according to Xu.
In laboratory demonstrations, Xu has shown the lenses can switch from transparent to blue, plus various shades in between, at the flip of a switch. “We are working on a multicolored device as well, but no prototype is available yet,” she says.
As the glasses require power only during switching, the device saves energy and prolongs battery life. Like regular sunglasses, they also can be coated with a protective layer to block ultraviolet light.
Fashion-conscience shoppers will have to wait a little while for this latest thing in eyewear: A practical version of the ‘smart’ sunglasses won’t be available to consumers for another one to two years, says Xu, whose lab has filed several patents related to the color-changing glasses. More testing is needed, she notes.
So far, Xu and her associates have produced the electrochromic polymers in red, blue and green. By combining the polymers of different colors into multiple layers and supplying different levels of current from the batteries in the sunglasses, a wide variety of different colors can be produced in the lenses, Xu says. Funding for the study was provided by the University of Washington.
Charmayne Marsh | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy