On/Off Luminescent Ink Prints On Fabric

Printable luminescent ink that can be turned on and off has been created by a team at Dai Nippon Printing in Tokyo. The 'ink' is actually a gel consisting of a ruthenium compound that emits a bright light when a voltage is applied to it, along with an electrolyte and silica nanoparticles.


(Luminescent ink printed on surface)

The electrolyte is a liquid salt, an ionic liquid which does not easily evaporate. It also prevents the ink from degrading, allowing displays to be printed onto surfaces without the need for a protective coating. The ink will not wash off in water, making it suitable for use with textiles. Meanwhile, the silica nanoparticles blend with the light-emitting liquid to form a gel, allowing it to be printed onto different surfaces in discrete blobs, to form pixels.

I don't know of any sf authors who predicted light-emitting ink. I do know that if I'm ever going to get a good display for my sleeve watch (like in Niven and Barnes' 1981 novel Dream Park) or my sleeve communicator (from Murray Leinster's 1945 short story First Contact), somebody will certainly need some ink that can be printed on a fabric, and then selectively illuminated.

It would also be a great way to implement the pong dress.

From Press 'print' for a light-emitting T-shirt; thanks to Armisius for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/10/2009)

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