Konstantin Novoselov, the Nobel laureate renowned for co-creating graphene, has once again made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize numerous futuristic applications, ranging from smart contact lenses to rapid disease detection. Novoselov, along with a team of scientists, has unveiled unique properties within two unconventional compounds: rhenium diselenide and rhenium disulfide, known as ReSe2 and ReS2.

These compounds belong to the same family of 2D structures as graphene, renowned for being the thinnest, strongest, and most thermally conductive material known to humanity. However, ReSe2 and ReS2 possess distinct attributes, including the ability to manipulate light in novel ways, unlocking immense technological potential.

The serendipitous discovery of these properties occurred during collaborative research with the deeptech startup Xpanceo, aimed at developing a next-generation computing interface: smart contact lenses for creating an infinite extended reality. Recognizing the potential of ReS2 and ReSe2 to provide exceptional optical performance, the team conducted experiments in a laboratory in Dubai, where they discovered the materials’ remarkable capabilities exceeded their expectations.

Describing the findings as “groundbreaking,” Novoselov emphasized the materials’ ability to manipulate light direction by adjusting the wavelength, offering significant potential across various industries and applications, including medicine, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.

Published today in Nature Communications, the research paper marks the beginning of a journey towards commercial applications. Xpanceo envisions leveraging ReSe2 and ReS2 to revolutionize light manipulation in devices and applications, paving the way for merging disparate gadgets into a unified field of view.

The startup plans to embed these materials into smart contact lenses to augment human color perception and enhance applications such as extended reality vision and health monitoring. However, the ambitions extend beyond optical upgrades.

Xpanceo aims to utilize ReSe2 and ReS2 to power biochemical sensors, facilitating faster and more affordable blood testing. By leveraging Raman Spectroscopy, these sensors could enable early disease diagnosis at a fraction of the current cost, potentially detecting conditions like cancer or COVID at earlier stages.

Moreover, the materials hold promise for AI computing, with researchers envisioning their integration into photonic circuits to create fast and powerful computers for machine learning applications.

While much work lies ahead to realize these ambitious goals, the future appears promising, particularly for contact lens wearers who stand to benefit from the transformative potential of Novoselov’s latest discovery.

By Impact Lab