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The World’s Brightest Fluorescent Material Gives Us SMILES

by Paul Strauss

If you really want to stand out at a rave, you dress up in fluorescent colors and then stand under the black lights. But if you want to take your illumination to 11, there’s a new material that could up your visibility even more.

A team of chemists from Indiana University, the University of Copenhagen , and the University of Southern Mississippi have developed a unique material they claim is the brightest fluorescent substance on the planet.

Known as SMILES (small-molecule ionic isolation lattices), the material is made by creating a crystalline powder, then spinning it into a thin film or incorporating it into a synthetic polymer. While there are lots of highly fluorescent dyes out there, what makes this accomplishment special is that it’s really hard to maintain their fluorescence in solid materials because their molecules stick too closely together, diminishing their brightness. By engineering a special donut-shaped molecule, the scientists were able to find a way to keep them further apart, resulting in a much brighter material. According to their research, SMILES is 30 times brighter than cadmium selenide quantum dots, a fluorescent material used in medical imaging.

If commercialized, the technology could help to improve medical lasers, solar cells, 3D displays, and more. I’m not sure if rave accessories are on the list though. For more information on the SMILES research project, you can find their full paper over on Chem.

[via TechEBlog]



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