China lights the way in wearable technology

2015-03-25 09:33 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Fancy a party dress that will shine like a star or a tuxedo that can change colors? A new material developed by Chinese scientists may help you get just that.

Peng Huisheng and his colleagues from the Shanghai-based Fudan University plan to make you carry countless batteries to make your garment shine, only that the cells are fiber-shaped so they can be woven into fabric, according to the latest issue of UK-based Nature Photonics.

The light, flexible, fiber polymer light-emitting electrochemical cells (PLEC) are made by wrapping metal wire cathode in a carbon nanotube sheet that is the anode. They activate an electroluminescent polymer layer in between, which emits light.

PLECs are powered by a low voltage, boast high efficiency and are suitable for mass production, said Zhang Zhitao, one of the article's authors.

The materials can display various colors, and fabric made with them can change colors by adjusting the brightness ratio.

In a peer review article, material scientists Enrique Orti and Henk Bolink say the technology was "a major step forward in the preparation of light-emitting fibers that suit integration with woven fabrics," although improvements were still needed.

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