Photonic Crystals in Uniforms

November 14, 2002 | Source: NY Times

Photonic crystals may one day revolutionize optics the way the semiconductor revolutionized electronics.

Optical communications systems might someday be woven into our clothing and computers might rely as much on optics as on electronics.

MIT received a $50 million contract the Defense Department to enhance the supersoldier fighting uniform with polymer threads that — by selectively reflecting or absorbing different wavelengths of light — would silently flash an optical bar code. Troops wearing specially tuned night-vision goggles would be able to distinguish between foe and friend during a night firefight.

News tip: Walter Purvis