Researchers Develop Light-Emitting Tattoo That Could Be Used to Target Cancer Cells


An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is an age-old technology that both TVs and smartphones use to offer individuals top-notch picture quality. However, a group of researchers recently determined that the matter can also be used for other, more vital purposes.

A team of researchers from the UK’s University College London (UCL) and the Italian Institute of Technology have revealed that OLED technology can be used in combination with temporary tattoos, effectively providing health professionals with new methods to care for patients. 

In other cases, the technology could even be tapped to signal when food has gone to waste instead of depending on the expiration date notation on products, which often vary across goods.

“They can be combined with other forms of tattoo electronics for a very wide range of possible uses. These could be for fashion – for instance, providing glowing tattoos and light-emitting fingernails.”

According to the UCL release, the device developed by the team of researchers is only 2.3 micrometers thick, and consists of an electroluminescent polymer that sits between a pair of electrodes, with an insulating layer also fitted between the electrodes and commercial tattoo paper. The tech is then applied by simply dabbing the device with water. 

Officials were able to successfully use the OLED device on a pane of glass, a plastic bottle, paper packaging and even an orange. The light emitted by the tech was green, researchers noted. 

Cacialli further indicated in the UCL release that the team intends to study how they can extend the duration of the temporary OLED tattoos. Additionally, they hope to fuse “a battery or supercapacitor” to the device.

These findings were published in the recent edition of the journal of Advanced Electronic Material.


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