Will glow-in-the-dark materials someday light our cities?
A new generation of luminescent materials is prompting talk of the possibility that glowing photoluminescent substances might someday light buildings, streets and sidewalks. Such photoluminescent materials work by “trapping” the energy of a photon and re-emitting that energy as lower-wavelength light. Some of these materials could be able to glow strongly for many hours. Beyond providing illumination, it might also possible to engineer the materials to cool local environments and reduce the urban heat island effect. Fulton Schools Professor Patrick Phelan, a mechanical engineer and co-author a research paper on the heat island effect, finds that possibility worth investigating. The article also appears in Inverse.