Scientists have grown plants glowing in the dark
In the future, electric lamps may disappear – they will be replaced by plants that can glow in the dark. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on the creation of such plants and have achieved important successes, according to Science Advances.
The technology is based on embedded nanoparticles that are located close to the surface of the leaves. A 10 second LED charge is enough to make the plant glow brightly for several minutes. The nanoparticles can then be recharged.
“We wanted to create a light-emitting device with particles that will absorb light, accumulate part of it and emit it gradually,” explained the authors of the development.
At the heart of luminous plants are capacitors that can store light in the form of photons and then release them over time. The scientists used strontium aluminate, a material capable of absorbing visible and ultraviolet light and emitting it as a glow.
Strontium aluminate has been converted to nanoparticles and coated with silicon to protect it from damage. They were then embedded in plant stomata – small pores on the leaf surface that allow gases to enter or exit plant tissues.
The team tested the technology on five different types of plants: basil, watercress, tobacco, daisy and the Thai elephant's ear plant. In all cases, the experiments were successful.
The light was transmitted through a lens over a distance of about one meter. As the scientists emphasized, this is “a good step towards creating lighting on a scale that people could use.”
Observations have shown that plants successfully support photosynthesis. However, their service life as lamps did not exceed two weeks. Scientists were able to extract and reuse 60% of the nanoparticles.
Earlier it was reported that scientists have found the rudiments of intelligence in plants. They were able to respond to sound stimuli.