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Tiny ‘Nano Earthquakes’ Could Improve the Low Light Performance of Cameras



The low light performance in your future camera may be improved thanks to new research in “nano earthquakes.” Researchers have found that sound waves can be used to improve the electronic properties of 2D materials, paving the way for things such as camera sensors that can capture better shots in dark environments.

Researchers at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) found that by passing sound waves over the surface of 2D materials, the “ripples” of sound serve as a carrier of electrons, dragging them along and changing the electrical properties of the materials temporarily.

“We’ve found that ‘nano-earthquake’-like waves under the surface of the 2D materials drag electrons along their path, thereby tuning the amount of light emitted by the material,” lead scientist Dr Amgad Rezk says.

As soon as the nano earthquakes are stopped, the material returns back to its original state.

In addition to improved solar cells and smarter windows, the scientists believe the discovery could be applied to imaging sensors such as those found in mobile phone cameras, which often don’t have the best low light performance. Tiny earthquakes could help make the sensors more sensitive to light, improving the camera’s ability in low light situations.

If this concept does make its way into the world of photography, maybe in the future camera companies will start offering a vibration enhancement feature alongside vibration reduction.

(via RMIT via Engadget)

Image credits: Header graphic created with photos by Garry Knight and Marcin Wichary