Yes, you read that correctly. Scientists at the University of Connecticut have made adjustable LEDs out of strands of salmon DNA. The DNA is mixed with dye that absorbs UV light and emits bright white light.

The team used two different dyes: one absorbs UV light emits blue visible light, and the other absorbs part of the blue light to emit the desired color of light. The proportions of the two dyes can be altered to create an efficient, easily color-tunable light. The LEDs can be tuned to emit either warmer or colder white lights.

The use of DNA as the base polymer also has its purposes. DNA is a very strong polymer, lasting 50 times longer than acrylic. The DNA fibers also orient the dye molecules in the best way possible to make the energy transfer happen.


The process seems a bit overly involved for the result. The scientists have to extract fish DNA, then spin it into nano-fibers, and then coat a UV LED with the fibers. But then again, how many other technologies can claim that their efficiency comes from fish DNA?

Making Light Bulbs from DNA [via Technology Review]


(Image: from Angewandte Chemie.)