• This Light Is Powered By Fireflies And Doesn’t Need Electricity to Glow
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[img]http://www.futurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/nanorod_525.jpg[/img] Nanorods created with firefly enzymes glow in a test tube. "The nanorods are made of the same materials used in computer chips, solar panels and LED lights,” says chemist Mathew Maye. “It’s conceivable that someday firefly-coated nanorods could be inserted into LED-type lights that you don’t have to plug in." (Credit: Syracuse U.) [img]http://www.futurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/nanorod_500.jpg[/img] The colors produced in the laboratory are not possible for fireflies. The nanorods glow green, orange, and red, whereas fireflies naturally emit a yellowish glow. (Credit: Syracuse U.) [quote] It’s all about the size and structure of the custom, quantum nanorods, which are produced in the laboratory by Mathew Maye, assistant professor of chemistry, and Rabeka Alam, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate. Maye is also a member of the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute. “Firefly light is one of nature’s best examples of bioluminescence,” Maye says. “The light is extremely bright and efficient. We’ve found a new way to harness biology for nonbiological applications by manipulating the interface between the biological and nonbiological components.” Their work was published online May 23 in Nano Letters and is forthcoming in print. Collaborating on the research were Professor Bruce Branchini and Danielle Fontaine, both from Connecticut College. Fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction between luciferin and its counterpart, the enzyme luciferase. In Maye’s laboratory, the enzyme is attached to the nanorod’s surface; luciferin, which is added later, serves as the fuel. The energy that is released when the fuel and the enzyme interact is transferred to the nanorods, causing them to glow. The process is called Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET). “The trick to increasing the efficiency of the system is to decrease the distance between the enzyme and the surface of the rod and to optimize the rod’s architecture,” Maye says. “We designed a way to chemically attach genetically manipulated luciferase enzymes directly to the surface of the nanorod.” Maye’s collaborators at Connecticut College provided the genetically manipulated luciferase enzyme. The nanorods are composed of an outer shell of cadmium sulfide and an inner core of cadmium seleneide. Both are semiconductor metals. Manipulating the size of the core, and the length of the rod, alters the color of the light that is produced. The colors produced in the laboratory are not possible for fireflies. Maye’s nanorods glow green, orange, and red. Fireflies naturally emit a yellowish glow. The efficiency of the system is measured on a BRET scale. The researchers found their most efficient rods (BRET scale of 44) occurred for a special rod architecture (called rod-in-rod) that emitted light in the near-infrared light range. Infrared light has longer wavelengths than visible light and is invisible to the eye. Infrared illumination is important for such things as night vision goggles, telescopes, cameras, and medical imaging. Maye’s and Alam’s firefly-conjugated nanorods currently exist only in their chemistry laboratory. Additional research is ongoing to develop methods of sustaining the chemical reaction—and energy transfer—for longer periods of time and to “scale up” the system. Maye believes the system holds the most promise for future technologies that will convert chemical energy directly to light; however, the idea of glowing nanorods substituting for LED lights is not the stuff of science fiction. “The nanorods are made of the same materials used in computer chips, solar panels and LED lights,” Maye says. “It’s conceivable that someday firefly-coated nanorods could be inserted into LED-type lights that you don’t have to plug in.” Maye’s research was funded by a Department of Defense PECASE award sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). The AFOSR and the National Science Foundation supported the work performed by Maye’s collaborators at Connecticut College.[/quote] [url]http://www.futurity.org/science-technology/firefly-light-powers-nanorods-that-glow/[/url] Incredible.
Holy shit, that's cool.
Organic lighting on the way? Might i soon have to feed my house to keep the lights on?
I love fireflies, especially now since this is the time of the year when they come out at night.
Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.
[QUOTE=Rents;36356138]Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.[/QUOTE] What if you used an e-Ink style layer over the top, a tiny voltage spike and it turns opaque?
Oh cool, that city is right next to me. But about the glowing, can it be disabled
The uber-most important question is...how long do they last, and how much do they cost?
But how long can these things last?
Give me blue and I'm sold.
Liquid awesomeness :D
Reminds me of the Matrix how humans were harvested for heat energy from their body.
[QUOTE=Rents;36356138]Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.[/QUOTE] Put it in a standing lamp. Attach a little slide on the shaft. Pull the slide, and a cover moves down, covering up the bulb. Easy enough.
Then Insect's right groups complain about the mass genocide of Fire-Flies. It's still pretty cool though, and I thought the lights were going to be dim looking, but they appear rather bright.
Oh science, you are amazing.
[QUOTE=SweetSwifter;36357074]Put it in a standing lamp. Attach a little slide on the shaft. Pull the slide, and a cover moves down, covering up the bulb. Easy enough.[/QUOTE] It's still no more functional than a glowstick and I seriously doubt it's cost efficient since from what I understand there's a lot of engineering going on at a molecular level.
Other than turning on and off, I'd imagine lifespan to be a problem. The energy given out by photons has to come from somewhere, so even if it doesn't use electricity it still needs something to run on.
[QUOTE=MightyMax;36355668]Organic lighting on the way? Might i soon have to feed my house to keep the lights on?[/QUOTE] Erm you do know that the O in OLED stands for Organic right? and they have existed for a while.
The real question is, will it blend?
[QUOTE=Downsider;36357910]It's still no more functional than a glowstick and I seriously doubt it's cost efficient since from what I understand there's a lot of engineering going on at a molecular level.[/QUOTE] Well... From what the article tells me, it's all still in very early development stages. Everything is massively expensive at that stage. It's all about figuring out a way to mass produce it. As the market grows, the price will go down. Just look at early flat-screen televisions' prices and the prices today. Either way, it was more a comment on the one that said there was no off switch. I doubt this technology will be a feasible solution within the next... three years, maybe more... If it ever does become public, and doesn't dissapear into obscurity like all those other hopeful articles posted here on FP. :v:
[QUOTE=SmashBrosFan11;36358607]The real question is, will it blend?[/QUOTE] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l69Vi5IDc0g[/media]
It's a chemiluminescence reaction. I did a science experiment on this in 8th grade on how the chemiluminescence is effected when exposed to the loss and gain of heat.
Owl city came to mind
I wonder how long it lasts before the fuel runs out.
They never mention the downsides to this sort of stuff. I remember when people were extatic about a powerless prototype bioluminescent lamp a couple of years ago, until it was mentioned that you couldn't turn it off, had to feed it and the thing smelled like rotting swamp vegetation. Now this thing is pure chemistry. No organisms involved whatsoever. Though can it still produce the lumens to be on par with an LED light? Can you turn it off, or do you need to throw a cloth over it to block the light when you go to sleep? Does it last as long as a traditional LED light, or is it more like a glowstick that lasts a couple of hours?
Reminds me of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glofish"]GloFish[/url] Also every chemical reaction that produces energy - like light - needs some sort of fuel source. Most kinds of luciferin run on oxygen I believe. In that case, maybe sealing the lamp off could extinguish the light like a flame.
I used to hit fireflies with things during the summer as a little kid and watch their brightly lit bodies streak across the air
that is fucking absolutely beautiful.
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