1. Post #1


    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.)


    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.)
    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.
    http://www.futurity.org/science-tech...ods-that-glow/

    Incredible.
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  2. Post #2
    JonniXD's Avatar
    August 2009
    2,055 Posts
    Holy shit, that's cool.
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  3. Post #3
    Dennab
    July 2009
    7,650 Posts
    Organic lighting on the way? Might i soon have to feed my house to keep the lights on?
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  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    April 2005
    6,664 Posts
    I love fireflies, especially now since this is the time of the year when they come out at night.
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  5. Post #5
    White Fusion will love him forever and ever~
    Rents's Avatar
    January 2012
    10,736 Posts
    Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.
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  6. Post #6
    Dennab
    February 2012
    2,299 Posts
    Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.
    What if you used an e-Ink style layer over the top, a tiny voltage spike and it turns opaque?
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  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    FullStreak12's Avatar
    October 2007
    6,802 Posts
    Oh cool, that city is right next to me.

    But about the glowing, can it be disabled

  8. Post #8
    Dennab
    August 2011
    3,194 Posts
    The uber-most important question is...how long do they last, and how much do they cost?
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  9. Post #9
    What's brevity?
    ironman17's Avatar
    June 2006
    19,129 Posts
    But how long can these things last?
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  10. Post #10
    Give me blue and I'm sold.
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  11. Post #11
    Facepunch's #1 Huskybutt
    James xX's Avatar
    July 2011
    2,092 Posts
    Liquid awesomeness :D
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  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    October 2010
    2,532 Posts
    Reminds me of the Matrix how humans were harvested for heat energy from their body.
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  13. Post #13
    Gold Member
    SweetSwifter's Avatar
    April 2007
    4,540 Posts
    Ok, but where's the off switch? These are pretty much just an improvement on glowsticks.
    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.
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  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    THATCAKEISASPY's Avatar
    February 2010
    1,777 Posts
    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.
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  15. Post #15
    Ask Me About my Castlevania fetish.
    Derpmonster's Avatar
    February 2012
    514 Posts
    Oh science, you are amazing.

  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    Downsider's Avatar
    July 2007
    1,998 Posts
    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.
    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.

  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    acds's Avatar
    October 2008
    14,924 Posts
    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.
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  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    alien_guy's Avatar
    June 2009
    4,359 Posts
    Organic lighting on the way? Might i soon have to feed my house to keep the lights on?
    Erm you do know that the O in OLED stands for Organic right? and they have existed for a while.
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  19. Post #19
    SmashBrosFan11's Avatar
    January 2010
    875 Posts
    The real question is, will it blend?
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  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    SweetSwifter's Avatar
    April 2007
    4,540 Posts
    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.
    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.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    Mingebox's Avatar
    February 2010
    14,517 Posts
    The real question is, will it blend?
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  22. Post #22
    Nearie's Avatar
    May 2012
    142 Posts
    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.
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  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    Lexinator's Avatar
    June 2008
    3,606 Posts
    Owl city came to mind
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  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    Elspin's Avatar
    December 2006
    5,248 Posts
    I wonder how long it lasts before the fuel runs out.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    V12US's Avatar
    August 2005
    4,578 Posts
    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?
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  26. Post #26
    Marik Bentusi's Avatar
    June 2010
    6,193 Posts
    Reminds me of GloFish

    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.

  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    TheTalon's Avatar
    June 2008
    19,658 Posts
    I used to hit fireflies with things during the summer as a little kid and watch their brightly lit bodies streak across the air

  28. Post #28
    that is fucking absolutely beautiful.