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NEWS
Could Wood Light Up Homes Of The Future?
November 11, 2020

Well, yes, based on information reported in the American Chemical Society journal, ACS Nano.

Most materials used for optical lighting applications need to produce a uniform illumination and require high mechanical and hydrophobic properties. However, they are rarely eco-friendly. Now, according to the report, a group of researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden have developed a bio-based, luminescent, water-resistant wood film that could someday be used as cover panels for lamps, displays and laser devices.

Consumer demand for eco-friendly, renewable materials has driven researchers to investigate wood-based thin films for optical applications. However, many materials developed so far have drawbacks, such as poor mechanical properties, uneven lighting, a lack of water resistance or the need for a petroleum-based polymer matrix. To overcome these limitations, KTH researchers Qiliang Fu, PhD., Ingo Burgert, PhD., and colleagues set out to develop a luminescent wood film.

The researchers treated balsa wood with a solution to remove lignin and about half of the hemicelluloses, leaving behind a porous scaffold. The team then infused the delignified wood with a solution containing quantum dots –– semiconductor nanoparticles that glow in a particular color when struck by ultraviolet (UV) light. After compressing and drying, the researchers applied a hydrophobic coating. The result was a dense, water-resistant wood film with excellent mechanical properties. Under UV light, the quantum dots in the wood emitted and scattered an orange light that spread evenly throughout the film’s surface. The team demonstrated the ability of a luminescent panel to light up the interior of a toy house. According to the researchers, different types of quantum dots could be incorporated into the wood film to create various colors of lighting products.


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