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Nanoparticles can illuminate certain trees

And in other news, NASA has finally found life on other planets. Judging from our high-resolution photos, we can see that they have similar buildings and automobiles, but their trees glow red at night.

Seriously, this is Earth. Specifically, it is Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University, and it was recently discovered that adding gold nanoparticles to the leaves of this tree, known as Bacopa caroliniana, will cause the chlorophyll to glow red.

Dr. Ye-Hsun Su believes that his recent discovery could do a lot to help the environment. After all, a lot of streetlights at night lead to a huge electricity bill. If it is cheaper to coat some trees with a substance to make them glow at night, then we can reduce our nightly illumination bill by a substantial fraction.

Of course, I’m not certain how well this will work. I don’t know anything about Bacopa caroliniana, but unless it is able to grow quickly and on any terrain, the “tree streetlight” plan would take years to develop.

If nothing else, you got a way to make certain that trees are prepared for the holidays. Other than that season, there really isn’t a way to avoid their weird eerie glow.


3 thoughts on “Nanoparticles can illuminate certain trees”

  1. Something is not correct in this news release. Google “Bacopa Caroliniana” and you will discover that it is NOT a tree. It is “A perennial, creeping herb . . . In the wild it grows in bog or semi-submersed conditions.” Many people have Bacopa Caroliniana (aka Water Hyssop) growing in their aquariums. Since I last looked, Wikipedia has been amended with a paragraph out of this press release describing it as a tree, in contradiction to several other Wiki paragraphs and photos.

  2. Bob is right to say there is something wrong with this, the picture is most misleading as is the use of the word ‘trees’. The story at Also states that this has only been done with the aquatic plant ‘Bacopa Caroliniana’ Also the article states that although it appears to glow, it must be illuminated with UV light.

    “The team hopes to make the bio-LED principle work in other plants, perhaps for decorative effect or even to provide faint illumination – although a constant UV light source is needed to create the glow.

    But this won’t be happening any time soon, the researchers told New Scientist. “The efficiency of our bio-LED is not high enough for a commercial device,” Su says.”

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