Night Vision Contact Lenses Possible with Graphene

A new light sensor can create limitless vision

By: Natalie Wong


Main Points:

- Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a way to use graphene to detect infrared light

- By creating layers of graphene and implementing an insulating barrier in between, an electrical current that is added will create a reaction intense enough to convert into a visible image

- The layered design can be thin and has the ability to be stacked on a contact lens.

Night vision technology has increasingly improved, ranging from the massive creepy night vision goggles for sale on eBay to sleek night vision driving glasses. Now, thanks to Zhaohui Zhong Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan and his research team, the night vision contact lens is possible.

According to Dante D’Orazio from The Verge, electrical engineers at the University of Michigan discovered a way to use graphene (two layers of carbon with the thickness of an atom) to sense infrared light. Allen McDuffee from says Zhong’s team enabled the design for night vision contact lenses by placing “an insulating layer between two graphene layers and then [adding] electric current. When infrared light hits the layered product, its electrical reaction is amplified strong enough to be converted into a visible image.”

Douglas Cobb from Guardian Liberty Voice claims that while graphene has been previously used on contact lenses to attempt to enable night vision, such attempts were unsuccessful as a result of graphene’s inability to react to distinct areas of the light spectrum. However, he claims that Zhong and his research team overcame this issue by creating a “sandwich of layers…an insulating barrier between two extremely thin slices of graphene, and an electrical current would then be sent through the bottom layer.” Cobb claims that according to Zhong, the design would be thin, thus enabling it to “be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone.”

The discovery of graphene technology’s potential not only paves the way for new night vision contact lenses but for other possible inventions as well. According to Cobb, Zhong said that doctors could use graphene to monitor a patient’s blood flow without having to move or subject them to scanning.

Night vision contact lens technology helps advance society. Having access to the ability to see in utter darkness provides a practical solution to going for a late night run without the weight and bulk of glasses. Plus its thin layer and small size grant accessibility and convenience.

Just by sticking on a pair of contact lenses, we’re granted limitless vision. Graphene technology truly has incredible potential.


Natalie Wong just finished her first year at McGill University. She is majoring in finance and will minor in political science. She has a strong appetite for writing and investigating various news stories. Author Twitter Handle: natalexisw

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