nanopartica GmbH / Applications / Art & Beauty

Art & Beauty

Dichroic glass

By mixing our metal nanoparticles into a glass melt it is possible to receive an opaque coloured glass. When light passes through the glass a new colour appears which depends on the mixture used. This dichroic effect in glass has been known at least since the 4th century A.D. when a highly skilled glassmaker produced the Lycurgus cup. The cup is famous for two aspects: The skillful cutting and grounding to get the figures and the green glass which changes to violet/pink upon change of light source angle.

Nanopartica GmbH have now managed to re-create a similar piece of dichroic glass but are also able to make other colours both in reflected as well as transmitted light.

The reason for this dichroism comes from something called a plasmonic effect. The plasmonic effect appears when (especially) a metal nanoparticles with conductive electrons sense the photon in the light wave. This photon reacts with the conductive electron and produces a new particle that is called plasmon in physics. The plasmon is able to move from one metal nanoparticle to the next one and in the end it is being released as visible light but at a different wavelength. The only requirements are that the entering light has or that part of it has a higher energy level then what the metal nanoparticle responds to and secondly that there is less then 100 nm between the metal nanoparticles that the plasmon is jumping between.

Practically this means that the "wavelength" of the light is being decreased from lets say 500 nm to less then 100 nm (due to the jumping from metal to metal) and is later on coming out again as visible light.

For this characteristics there are several applications of interest. The artistic aspects of having a two coloured system one in transmitted and one in reflected light.

There are also a direct interest for technical applications where the wavelength of light is simply too long for being able to use. With the plasmon this length is significantly decreased!

For further information please contact us.