Photo credit: Amar Flood
Chemists from the US and Denmark have created the brightest-known fluorescent materials in existence, called SMILES (small-molecule ionic isolation lattices), by finding a reliable way to make fluorescent solids. The crystals are then fabricated into powders, and then spun into a thin film or incorporated into a synthetic polymer substance. What you end up with is a material that is 30-times brighter than cadmium selenide quantum dots used in medical diagnostics and bioimaging. Read more for another picture and additional information.
Practical applications for this material in the future include super efficient solar cells, medical lasers (skin blemishes, wound healing, etc.), medical diagnostics and 3D displays. For now, the team will explore the tolerances and mechanical properties of this material to determine its suitability across possible new applications.
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The problem of quenching and inter-dye coupling emerges when the dyes stand shoulder-to-shoulder inside solids. They cannot help but ‘touch’ each other. Like young children sitting at storytime, they interfere with each other and stop behaving as individuals. We also do not know the materials’ limits. So, we will develop a fundamental understanding of how they work, providing a robust set of design rules for making new properties,” said Amar Flood, a chemist at Indiana University and co-senior author.