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Glowing Trees Could Replace Street Lights

In the future, you might be able to skip untangling those holiday lights

It might sound like something from the movie Avatar, but what if trees lit up at night, replacing the need for street lights?

This fantastical vision may become a reality thanks to the discovery that placing gold nanoparticles within the leaves of trees causes them to give off a luminous reddish glow.

Street lights are an important part of urban infrastructure – they light our way home and make the roads safe at night. Replacing street lights with glowing trees, however, would save on electricity costs, cut CO2 emissions, and reduce light pollution, which is caused by excessive artificial light.

A scene from the movie Avatar.

The innovation was discovered accidentally while a group of scientists in Taiwan were looking for a way to create high-efficiency lighting similar to LED technology, but without using the toxic and expensive phosphor powder that LEDs rely on.

When the gold nanoparticles are implanted into the leaves of Bacopa caroliniana plants, they cause chlorophyll to produce the reddish luminescence. In an added bonus, the luminescence will cause the leaves’ chloroplasts to photosynthesize, which will result in more carbon being captured from the air while the streets are lit.

If trees and plants do eventually replace street lights, Earth may start to look a lot like Pandora.


Avatar Blog

13 Responses to “Glowing Trees Could Replace Street Lights”

  1. I want one. I want this to be done with dandelions, so then we have little floating glowing things (I know why that couldn’t be done with the gold nano particles, but I still want it to be done).

  2. Is this really possible????

  3. […] Does this sound like Avatar, trees light up at night, replacing street lights? […]

  4. This would be really cool. At first, the picture looked like a tree covered in christmas lights. It seems like if all of the streetside trees were made this way, though, it would slowly lose it’s briliance… 🙁

  5. this is amazing really cool picture’s you got i hope to see more soon!! <3

  6. Fun idea! Wonder what long term effects this would have ecologically…

  7. reely an amazing thing to discover…!!!
    looking forward to see this technology used at Indian streets.

  8. […] Glowing Trees Could Replace Street Lights […]

  9. ummm… what if the tree mutates or catches fire?

  10. then we’re left with flaming mutant trees, I suppose. 🙂

  11. Omg… why cant people just be happy with their christmas lights.

  12. If you read the artical and think you will see gold nanoparticals. It doesnt mean color but actual gold. We dont have very much gold so to put some in every leaf on earth with cost us trillions!! Sorry to ruin the idea but think about it.

  13. They mean it uses actual gold not the color. Our contry is in 17 trillion dollers of debt. To buy gold to fill every leaf on every tree on the roads will cost more the our debt becasuse gold is so very rare. If we start with urban areas then the people of the rual will complain that its unfair. Also people will steal the trees. If you saw a glowing tree would you take it. So in the long run it wont happen! Sorry to ruin it for all of you.

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