Project no. 120
Light Transforming Material for Optimized Crops
S. Petersen1, R. Friis2, L. Kastell3 and J. Franck2
1DTU Earth and Space Physics and Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
2DTU Human Life Science Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
3DTU Biotechnology, Technical University of Denmark
4DTU Architectural Engineering, Technical university of Denmark
The product is a material containing chromophores, which are light sensitive molecules.
Through a mechanism called Förster resonance energy transfer (shortened FRET), the
molecules can change the wavelength of incoming light. By using a specific pair of
molecules, the material can be applied in the greenhouse industry by changing green light to
red light, allowing plants to absorb more energy for photosynthesis. This can be applied in
the greenhouse industry to produce more crops and replace energy consuming growth
Photosynthesis is used by plants to produce glucoses. The energy needed for this process,
is gathered from incoming photons. Glucoses is essential for plants to grow and bear bighealthy
fruits. The photosynthesis happens in chloroplasts located in the leaves. The
chloroplasts contain chlorophyll, which are organelles that absorb the sunlight. Specific
wavelengths are more preferable than others. Blue light and red light are the most absorbed
wavelength, while green is almost entirely reflected – hence the green color of leaves. The
wasted energy from the green light could potentially be used to increase the photosynthesis
in plants by our environmental friendly and sustainable technology.
Förster resonance energy transfer
Light sensitive molecules are called chromophores, where the donor molecule absorbs the
photon and transfers it to the acceptor molecule, which emits a photon in a new wavelength.
The energy transfer between two chromophores are called Förster resonance energy
transfer, and the efficiency of the transfer depends on the distance between the molecules,
the orientation and the inherent structure.
FRET is mostly used as a resolution for biological reasons, as the technique can be used to
measure small distances. However, it is possible to create solid material. By making a solid
material, the distance and orientation of the molecules can be optimized to allow for a more
efficient transfer of energy. It is therefore very desirable to create a transparent film or plastic
that can be used in the increasingly bigger greenhouse industry, to increase food production
in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, it is common to use energy consuming growth-lights
in the gardening industry. The product might be able to supplement or even replace those.