Russian Scientists Discovered How To Speed Up The Growth Of Plants In Greenhouses
Scientists from ITMO University along with specialists from Tomsk Polytechnic University have created a special glass-ceramic with the addition of chromium for lamps in greenhouses. Plants grow faster under their light.
The development is described in the journal Optical Materials. Many people saw a bright pink glow in the Windows of houses — these are special lamps that are used by owners of indoor plants so that their flowers do not lack light. Similar lamps are used by farmers, installing them in greenhouses.
High-tech agricultural producers use special led lamps for this purpose, the pink light in which is created as a result of mixing the light of blue and red LEDs. However, experts in light physiology claim that such lamps do not provide all the spectrum necessary for plants.
"Scientists have found out that such light is not optimal," Anastasia Babkina, head of the research, assistant at the faculty of Photonics and Optoinformatics, said in a press release from ITMO University.
The fact is that the red diode shines in the area of about 650 nanometers while its spectrum is narrow, almost like a laser. Plants better absorb red and infrared light not at a wavelength of 650 nanometers, but at a slightly larger one, which is already poorly visible to humans. It turns out that we Shine on plants with a light that is convenient for humans, but not optimal for the plants themselves."
Scientists from ITMO University and Tomsk Polytechnic University decided to improve the lamps so that not only red but also infrared light gets on the leaves, which accelerates growth. To do this, you had to find the right material.
Classic red LEDs use materials based on compounds with manganese and europium. It is the microscopic crystals of this chemical element that cause the diode to emit at a wavelength of about 650 nanometers, making the color red, and in conjunction with the blue diode, pink.
"We decided to take not another crystal, but glass ceramics," Babkina says. It is an intermediate material between glass and crystal. What is the difference — we uniquely grow crystals, but we synthesize glass by cooking, and it can be produced a lot and quickly and give it absolutely any shape. The disadvantage of glass is that it is fragile. So we take the glass and start slowly crystallizing it so that it doesn't lose its transparency.
As a result, we get a glass with microscopic crystals located inside it, invisible to the eye. At the same time, the strength of the material increases, and the luminescent properties improve. This material is called glass-ceramics."
At the production stage, chrome was added to the glass, ceramic-it gave the material a pinkish hue, which allowed to receive both red and infrared light simultaneously.
The new material can be used in the production of a new type of led, or you can just make shades for existing lamps.