Photo: Don Farrall—Getty Images
By Emily Price
December 15, 2017

Researchers at MIT have created plants that glow, a development they hope can be used in the future to replace things like street lamps or a night light beside your bed.

In a paper recently published in the journal Nano Letters, researchers detailed how they embeded plants with nanoparticles that use the energy stored by photosynthesis in the plants to turn it into light, MIT News reports.

For the creation researchers used luciferase, the same enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. By embedding the particles in a watercress plant they were able to get the plant to offer a dim light for four hours. The hope is that with more research they will be able to get the plant to create enough light to illuminate a workspace.

Ultimately, researchers hope to create a way to essentially “spray paint” the nanoparticles into leaves which would allow them to transform trees and other large plants into light sources as well.


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