Light emitting textiles coming

Fibre-shaped polymer light-emitting electrochemical cells are twisted together to generate colorful lights. Image: Zhitao Zhang

Researchers have developed thin light-emitting fibres capable of being woven into colour-tunable textiles.

These textiles, when provided with a very small electrical signal, emit blue or yellow light. Other colours could be available in the future.

The researchers suggest the process could be scaled up to manufacture clothing which directly emits light.

Huisheng Peng of Fudan University, Shanghai, and colleagues found that a fibre-shaped PLEC (polymer light-emitting electrochemical cell) could be made by coating a thin steel wire with a layer of zinc oxide nanoparticles.

The fibres are around one millimetre thick and can be twisted together and woven into patterns in textiles.

Unlike glass optical fibres, which guide light from one location to another, these metal–polymer–carbon fibres emit light from their entire surface with an electrical signal of a few volts or more.

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