A UCF engineer was recently featured on Inside Science TV for his collaborative research to develop a new material that could potentially help keep pilots safe by diffusing harmful laser lights.

Motorists have all experienced the sensation of being blinded by oncoming traffic, but imagine the danger for pilots who experience similar issues when trying to land a commercial aircraft. Interestingly for pilots, it’s not headlights that cause temporary blindness – but light from laser pointers.

UCF Assistant Professor Jayan Thomas, in collaboration with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, were featured on Inside Science TV, a news segment produced by the American Institute of Physics, for developing a new material using nanotechnology that could potentially diffuse high-energy beams of light, such as lasers.

“Gold nanoclusters are atomically engineered gold atoms that have 25 atoms – not one more, not one less,” said Thomas. “They have very unique properties because they allow normal light to pass through, but diffuse high-intensity laser light.”

Thomas and his team discovered that the optical properties of gold nanoclusters are very suitable for creating surfaces that can diffuse laser beams and high energy light. If the eyewear is coated using the gold nanoclusters, it can help pilots and keep skies safe by diffusing the harmful beams of high energy light.

For more information, or to view the Inside Science vignette, visit research.ucf.edu.