Improving fluorescents qualifies as a bright idea, right?


I have young kids, and judging by their toy collections I thought fluorescents were already about as bright as possible.

But chemists at Indiana University and the University of Copenhagen say there are actually limits to how well fluorescent dyes can work when they’re part of solids.

That’s because of something called “quenching.”

The research team suggests we think of the fluorescent dyes as kids at storytime. Instead of keeping their distance, they bunch up and get in each other’s way, each inhibiting the other’s brightness.

The researchers were able to head off the quenching by mixing the dye with a substance called cyanostar, which keeps the fluorescents from getting too close to each other.

As they enter a solid state of matter, they keep more of their brightness.

We’ll have to see what these new, brighter fluorescents can be used for.

Since these are entirely new materials, scientists first have to put them through their paces, and figure out more about their potential and their limitations.

But one of the chemists suggests a very practical use: in the future these might help convert more of the light spectrum into forms that solar panels can use.

And I think we can all agree that raves are going to get a lot brighter.


It’s World Elephant Day, and there are lots of ways to support and celebrate these magnificent animals, even the ones that aren’t real life animals.

Lucy the Elephant is a hotel room on the Jersey Shore that’s shaped like an elephant. You stay inside the 19th century structure and enjoy the Victorian-style furnishings while peering out at the ocean through windows based in its eyes.

Lucy’s caretaker says she’s “the oldest surviving example of zoomorphic architecture on Earth.”

Chemists create the brightest-ever fluorescent materials (

World Elephant Day

Stay Overnight in Lucy, an Elephant-Shaped Hotel on the New Jersey Shore (Untapped Cities)

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