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New glow-in-the-dark materials shine a full spectrum

Jeannie Choe
03.15.07
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We love all things glow-in-the-dark, and for good reason: they help us find the bathroom at night, they freak out our cats, and raves wouldn't be the same without a ton of kids who don't care how ridiculous they look spinning glowsticks. Lucky for us, Japanese researchers have developed new materials that glow in a full range of colors with the potential to provide a real-world solution. The research team from Ryukoku University in Kyoto suggests using the materials to create clear, attractive emergency signage that doesn't depend on electricity to operate. Until now, phosphorescent colors were limited to bluish and greenish tones, which lack visibility through smoke or dust, and supposedly invoke anxiety. The new materials' rainbow of colors (including white light) should offer a more natural illumination, and may strike the fancy of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), "the international authority on lighting" that's already suggested finding an electricity-free emergency lighting / signage system for buildings. Using this new technology for constructive purposes is all well and good, but we were most relieved to hear that the team isn't snoozing on "less serious" applications for these materials -- i.e. a lampshade nightlight that stays on all night. C'mon, you didn't think they'd leave the out the good stuff (view image), did ya?

[Thanks, Matthew]

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