Room Temperature Phosphorescence from Natural, Organic Emitters and Their Application in Industrially Compostable Programmable Luminescent Tags

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Organic semiconductors provide the potential of biodegradable technologies, but prototypes do only rarely exist. Transparent, ultrathin programmable luminescent tags (PLTs) are presented for minimalistic yet efficient information storage that are fully made from biodegradable or at least industrially compostable, ready-to-use materials (bioPLTs). As natural emitters, the quinoline alkaloids show sufficient room temperature phosphorescence when being embedded in polymer matrices with cinchonine exhibiting superior performance. Polylactic acid provides a solution for both the matrix material and the flexible substrate. Room temperature phosphorescence can be locally controlled by the oxygen concentration in the film by using Exceval as additional oxygen blocking layers. These bioPLTs exhibit all function-defining characteristics also found in their regular nonenvironmentally degradable analogs and, additionally, provide a simplified, high-contrast readout under continuous-wave illumination as a consequence of the unique luminescence properties of the natural emitter cinchonine. Limitations for flexible devices arise from limited thermal stability of the polylactic acid foil used as substrate allowing only for one writing cycle and preventing an annealing step during fabrication. Few-cycle reprogramming is possible when using the architecture of the bioPLTs on regular quartz substrates. This work realizes the versatile platform of PLTs with less harmful materials offering more sustainable use in future.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced materials
Publication statusPublished - 2024

External IDs

Mendeley 6807cef4-2ee5-3ab1-a56d-f1bddc8edeff
ORCID /0000-0001-9506-6077/work/160953486
ORCID /0000-0002-4112-6991/work/160953552
ORCID /0000-0001-5081-2558/work/160953561



  • biodegradable, information storage, organic semiconductors, polymers, programmable luminescent tags, room-temperature phosphorescence