A rechargeable light-emitting plant that glows after being charged for 10 seconds with an LED is being touted as an advance in the emerging field of nanobionics.
These engineered plants can produce light that is 10 times brighter than first generation of glowing plants, reported in 2017 by the same team, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
The scientists, including Sheila Kennedy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said the findings could pave the way for a future in which lighting infrastructure from living plants “could play an integral part of the places where people work and live.” “
“We wanted to build a light-emitting plant with particles that would absorb light, store some of it, and emit it slowly. Said Michael Strano, senior author of the study and professor of chemical engineering at MIT.” This is a big step towards plant-based lighting.”
Strano’s lab, according to University Profile Page, is working on ways to give plants new features by embedding them with different types of nanoparticles.
In the current study, Strano and his team used a “light capacitor” made of a material called a “phosphor” to store light in the form of photons and slowly release it over time.
According to the research, these materials – composed of a compound called strontium aluminate – can absorb either visible or ultraviolet light and then slowly release it as a phosphorescent glow.
They covered these phosphor nanoparticles with silica, which are several thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, to protect the plants from damage.
Because of the small size of these particles, they enter plants through their stomata – tiny breathing pores located on the surfaces of leaves – and accumulate in a spongy layer called the mesophyll.
The study noted that after about 10 seconds of blue LED exposure, phosphor-infected plants can emit light for about an hour, with the brightness first being at its fastest for five minutes and then gradually decreasing.
The scientists said that these plants can be recharged continuously for at least two weeks.
“Creating ambient lighting with the renewable chemical energy of living plants is a bold idea,” Kennedy, a professor of architecture at MIT, said in a statement. “It represents a fundamental shift in how we think about electrical energy for living plants and lighting.”
When the researchers assessed whether the nanoparticles interfered with the normal functioning of these phosphor-infected plants, they found that the glowing plants were able to photosynthesize and evaporate water normally through their stomata over a 10-day period. Were.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /