Columbia University scientists, in collaboration with researchers from Harvard, have succeeded in developing a chemical process to convert infrared energy into visible light, allowing innocuous radiation to penetrate living tissue and other materials without the damage caused by high-intensity light exposure.
The team’s research is published in the January 16 issue of Nature.
“The findings are exciting because we were able to perform a series of complex chemical transformations that usually require high-energy, visible light using a noninvasive, infrared light source,” said Tomislav Rovis, professor of chemistry at Columbia and co-author of the study. “One can imagine many potential applications where barriers are in the way to controlling matter. For example, the research holds promise for enhancing the reach and effectiveness of photodynamic therapy, whose full potential for managing cancer has yet to be realized.”
The team, which includes Luis M. Campos, associate professor of chemistry at Columbia, and Daniel M. Congreve of the Rowland Institute at Harvard, carried out a series of experiments using small quantities of a novel compound that, when stimulated by light, can mediate the transfer of electrons between molecules that otherwise would react more slowly or not at all.
Their approach, known as triplet fusion upconversion, involves a chain of processes that essentially fuses two infrared photons into a single visible light photon. Most technologies only capture visible light, meaning the rest of the solar spectrum goes to waste. Triplet fusion upconversion can harvest low-energy infrared light and convert it to light that is then absorbed by the solar panels. Visible light is also easily reflected by many surfaces, whereas infrared light has longer wavelengths that can penetrate dense materials.
“With this technology, we were able to fine-tune infrared light to the necessary, longer wavelengths that allowed us to noninvasively pass through a wide range of barriers, such as paper, plastic molds, blood and tissue,” Campos said. The researchers even pulsed light through two strips of bacon wrapped around a flask.
Scientists have long tried to solve the problem of how to get visible light to penetrate skin and blood without damaging internal organs or healthy tissue. Photodynamic therapy (PDT), used to treat some cancers, employs a special drug, called a photosensitizer, that is triggered by light to produce a highly reactive form of oxygen able to kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Current photodynamic therapy is limited to the treatment of localized or surface cancers. “This new technology could bring PDT into areas of the body that were previously inaccessible,” Rovis said. “Rather than poisoning the entire body with a drug that causes the death of malignant cells and healthy cells, a nontoxic drug combined with infrared light could selectively target the tumor site and irradiate cancer cells.”
The technology could have far-reaching impact. Infrared light therapy may be instrumental in treating a number of diseases and conditions, including traumatic brain injury, damaged nerves and spinal cords, hearing loss, as well as cancer.
Other potential applications include remote management of chemical storage solar power production and data storage, drug development, sensors, food safety methods, moldable bone-mimic composites and processing microelectronic components.
The researchers are currently testing photon-upconversion technologies in additional biological systems. “This opens up unprecedented opportunities to change the way light interacts with living organisms,” Campos said. “Right now we are employing upconversion techniques for tissue engineering and drug delivery.”
The Latest on: Photon-upconversion technologies
via Google News
The Latest on: Photon-upconversion technologies
- Novel material converts infrared light into visible light (Update) on January 16, 2019 at 10:02 am
The researchers are currently testing photon-upconversion technologies in additional biological systems. "This opens up unprecedented opportunities to change the way light interacts with living organi... […]
- Two become one: How to turn green light blue on April 8, 2018 at 5:15 pm
Researches of the KIT Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) now created a new piggyback SURMOF in which a second SURMOF grew epitaxially, i.e. layer by layer, on a first one. At this heterojunc... […]
- Sustainable solvent platform for photon upconversion increases solar utilization efficiency on December 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm
This achievement is considered as an important landmark for the realization of practical application of photon upconversion technology. […]
- Chemical societies host solar energy summit on October 1, 2017 at 10:05 pm
and photonic materials and photon upconversion. The U.S. delegation was led by Suljo Linic of the University of Michigan, with participation from Harry Atwater of California Institute of Technology; G... […]
- Sweet! Sugar-Coated Probe Yields Better Acid Test on August 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm
Haiying Liu's acid-sensitive luminescent probe glows progressively brighter in living cells as the pH decreases, both under conventional fluorescence (CF) and under single-photon upconversion ... prog... […]
- FSU researchers pushing the efficiency limits of solar cells on June 15, 2017 at 7:50 am
A Florida State University research team has produced a new type of ... numbers is the inability of a cell to harness and convert low energy light. Photon upconversion — combining low energy light to ... […]
- Routes to high efficiency photovoltaics – from state-of-the-art to fundamental research on January 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Nevertheless there remains a significant research effort in PV with the aim of developing more efficient and cheaper technologies ... more novel concepts such as nanoscale light trapping, photon upcon... […]
- Pushing solar cell efficiency limits with molecular upconversion on June 30, 2016 at 10:49 am
The abundant and sustained nature of solar energy leaves little doubt that solar cell technology will play a pivotal role ... it may be possible to exploit a process known as photon upconversion (UC). ... […]
- Researchers Work to Build Solar Panels that Harness Currently Unused Portions of Sun’s Spectrum on December 16, 2015 at 12:58 pm
Doty, along with Delaware colleague Joshua Zide and others, wants to push the technology even further by taking a new stab at an old idea. Previous efforts to combine the energy from low-energy photon... […]
- Researchers pushing limits of solar cells on December 2, 2015 at 2:19 am
Researchers used a self-assembly process where molecules work in concert to preform photon upconversion, combining two low energy ... energy sustainable technology. Members of the initiative are worki... […]
via Bing News