Energy efficient light from the deep sea

3 December 2010

The glow stick is probably the best-known example of a light source that is based on a chemical reaction. Chemiluminescence is also used to detect blood in medicine. And even in nature in the depths of the sea, fish and organisms use chemical reactions to attract prey or to get away from enemies.

Installation with biological motion sensors

The fireworm, for example, advertises for a partner with a bright green color and incidentally lets its attacker dive into the void. The phenomenon of bioluminescence is widespread in insects and fungi. Only recently researchers were able to detect a number of different fungi with self-luminescent properties.

Now designers are also on the way to making biological light usable for energy-efficient luminaires. One of the first is Nicola Burggraf. She developed an installation with lights that react to the movement of visitors and emit flashes of light. In the manner of a biological movement sensor, the installation gives the visitor direct feedback on his behavior. The lights get by without any electronics. The organisms gain their energy during the day from photosynthesis processes and release it again in the evening to generate light.

image: Nicola Burggraf