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Appl Opt. 2013 Mar 1;52(7):1413-22. doi: 10.1364/AO.52.001413.

Feasibility of nanofluid-based optical filters.

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  • 1University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


In this article we report recent modeling and design work indicating that mixtures of nanoparticles in liquids can be used as an alternative to conventional optical filters. The major motivation for creating liquid optical filters is that they can be pumped in and out of a system to meet transient needs in an application. To demonstrate the versatility of this new class of filters, we present the design of nanofluids for use as long-pass, short-pass, and bandpass optical filters using a simple Monte Carlo optimization procedure. With relatively simple mixtures, we achieve filters with <15% mean-squared deviation in transmittance from conventional filters. We also discuss the current commercial feasibility of nanofluid-based optical filters by including an estimation of today's off-the-shelf cost of the materials. While the limited availability of quality commercial nanoparticles makes it hard to compete with conventional filters, new synthesis methods and economies of scale could enable nanofluid-based optical filters in the near future. As such, this study lays the groundwork for creating a new class of selective optical filters for a wide range of applications, namely communications, electronics, optical sensors, lighting, photography, medicine, and many more.

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