Science & Tech

These contact lenses could turn you into Superman

Warner Bros/DC Comics/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

If you've ever watched a Superman movie and thought that the power to beam lasers from your eyes looked pretty great, then we have good news for you.

Scientists at the University of St Andrews have designed ultra-thin contact lenses that can literally shoot lasers from them, which would be really handy for shaving.

Now, these lasers won't be able to burn through things or singe the hair off of your enemies, but they could be used for security purposes – whether as tags or for checking suspicious banknotes.

The lenses are just 200 nanometers thick, which seems inconceivable, and can project a laser on to a screen that is 20 inches away.

Malte Gather, who is a professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at St Andrew's, said in a statement:

In ancient Greece, Plato believed that visual perception is mediated by eye beams – beams actively sent out by the eyes to probe the environment.

Plato’s emission theory has, of course, long been refuted, but superheroes with lasers in their eyes live on in popular culture and comic books.

Our work represents a new milestone in laser development and, in particular, points the way to how lasers can be used in inherently soft and ductile environments, be it in wearable sensors or as an authentication feature on banknotes.

Demonstrations have reportedly been shown using a cow eye, with the membrane, which was attached to a lens, emitting a green beam of light.

Furthermore, the membranes maintain intact and carry on working after several months, meaning they have a long shelf-life.

Gather added:

When we thought about this idea of making the laser membrane, someone suggested it was the first step towards making Superman real.

It was meant as a joke but I thought it could be serious after all in certain applications.

What is important for a normal human – not being Superman – is that our lasers are extremely efficient and hence can emit laser light that is not very bright.

That excludes it from being used as a weapon but means that you could put it on to your eye without blinding yourself.

HT Express

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