New photochromatic material adapts to light instantly

April 28th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 28 (IANS) A revolutionary “photochromic” material developed by Japanese researchers changes colour instantaneously when exposed to light. The development could open the way to a wide range of new products including improved sunglasses, more powerful computers, dynamic holograms, and better medicines.
For years, researchers have explored the possibility of using these unusual materials for optical data storage in computers and as “molecular switches” for more controlled drug delivery.

Conventional photochromic materials, however, tend to be relatively slow-acting (tens of seconds to hours) and unstable, which prevents their use for many advanced applications, the scientists said.

The scientists described the development of a unique photochromic material that shows instantaneous colouration upon exposure to ultraviolet light and its disappearance within tens of milliseconds when the light is turned off.

The decolouration speed is thousands of times faster than conventional materials. The material is also more stable and longer-lasting, said a release of the American Chemcial Society.

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