The technology was demonstrated using the reflection of a coin. Image Credit: Imperial College London
Scientists have developed a special type of mirror that can transition in to a window and back again.
Developed by researchers at Imperial College London, the electrotuneable nanoplasmonic liquid mirror works by making it possible to fine tune its optical properties in real time.
The key lies in a tiny layer of gold nanoparticles that can be quickly transitioned from reflective to transparent and vice-versa by applying a voltage.
"It's a really fine balance - for a long time we could only get the nanoparticles to clump together when they assembled, rather than being accurately spaced out," said Professor Joshua Edel. "But many models and experiments have brought us to the point where we can create a truly tunable layer."
In the future, it is hoped that this method can be adapted for use in a wide variety of applications ranging from finely-tuned optical filters to miniature chemical sensors.
A video showing the system in action can be viewed below.