Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > SU researchers use nanotechnology to harness power of fireflies

Abstract:
What do fireflies, nanorods and Christmas lights have in common? Someday, consumers may be able to purchase multicolor strings of light that don't need electricity or batteries to glow. Scientists in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences found a new way to harness the natural light produced by fireflies (called bioluminescence) using nanoscience. Their breakthrough produces a system that is 20 to 30 times more efficient than those produced during previous experiments.

SU researchers use nanotechnology to harness power of fireflies

Syracuse, NY | Posted on June 16th, 2012

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 in SU's College of Arts and Sciences; 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, "Designing Quantum Rods for Optimized Energy Transfer with Firefly Luciferase Enzymes," was published online May 23 in Nano Letters and is forthcoming in print. Nano Letters is a premier journal of the American Chemical Society and one of the highest-rated journals in the nanoscience field. 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 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.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Judy Holmes
(315) 443-8085

Copyright © Syracuse University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Visualizing interacting electrons in a molecule: Scientists at Aalto University and the University of Zurich have succeeded in directly imaging how electrons interact within a single molecule January 26th, 2015

News and information

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanoshuttle wear and tear: It's the mileage, not the age January 26th, 2015

Visualizing interacting electrons in a molecule: Scientists at Aalto University and the University of Zurich have succeeded in directly imaging how electrons interact within a single molecule January 26th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications: Materials could benefit imaging and military enhancements such as elastic cloaking January 23rd, 2015

Discoveries

Visualizing interacting electrons in a molecule: Scientists at Aalto University and the University of Zurich have succeeded in directly imaging how electrons interact within a single molecule January 26th, 2015

Electronic circuits with reconfigurable pathways closer to reality January 26th, 2015

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Announcements

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Military

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications: Materials could benefit imaging and military enhancements such as elastic cloaking January 23rd, 2015

Laser-generated surface structures create extremely water-repellent metals: Super-hydrophobic properties could lead to applications in solar panels, sanitation and as rust-free metals January 20th, 2015

Quantum Dots/Rods

Rice-sized laser, powered one electron at a time, bodes well for quantum computing January 15th, 2015

Shining a light on quantum dots measurement January 15th, 2015

Carbon Nanotubes Increase Efficiency of Solar Cells January 12th, 2015

TCL 55” Quantum Dot TV with Color IQ™ Optics Debuts at CES 2015: TVs with OLED-quality color at an affordable price coming soon to the US and Europe January 5th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE