International Day of Light – May 16


The International Day of Light arose as an idea to maintain, promote, and stimulate collaborations between leaders of the technological and scientific sectors of light, after the celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies that took place in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, the journal Nature published an article reporting an experiment concluding that the human eye is capable of detecting the incidence of a single photon (Direct detection of a single photon by humans, /articles/ncomms12172 )

The photon is the elementary particle for the quantum of electromagnetic fields, including electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 0.4 to 0.7 micrometers (corresponding to frequencies from 750 to 428 THz, according to the formula f = c / λ ) that constitute the spectrum of visible light (region of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye is capable of perceiving)

In the formula of the previous paragraph appears the best-known characteristic of light, its speed in a vacuum c ≈ 300,000 Km/s, one of the three fundamental constants of Nature together with those of Newton G and Planck h.

However, the speed of Light is more than just a characteristic of light; it corresponds to something much deeper about the Universe: its ‘causal velocity’, the only speed at which massless particles can travel through space, such as photons, but also gravitational waves and gluons.

An incredibly fast speed since it allows light to go around the Earth 7.5 times in a single second. However, with the technological and scientific levels currently reached by Humanity, the speed of light does not seem so fast when we confront it with great distances and extremely short times within domains such as astrology or quantum clocks: Light needs 4.5 years to reach the closest star to our solar system, and in 1 nanosecond it is not capable of traveling more than 30 cm.

Light is the protagonist of a wide spectrum of Technologies of the present and the future, such as photovoltaic solar, solar thermal, fiber optics, laser, LED lighting or the revolutionary photonic quantum computing and optogenetics. And it is also intertwined with relevant social aspects such as culture, art, education, and sustainable development.

We want to highlight this day two extraordinary current undertakings:

·         Aqualuz, the solar system created by the Brazilian Anna Luísa Santos, when she was 15 years old, for the disinfection of water with a cost of 0.05 R$ for every 10 liters of treated water. Currently, 24-year-old Anna Luísa is making her project for access to water and its sanitation viable in rural areas of Brazil, through the startup Safe Drink Water For All (SDW for all)

·         Photio, a Chilean startup that creates a decontaminating additive for construction materials that, based on nanotechnology and the concept of biomimetics, is capable of partially replicating the photosynthesis process on the surfaces where Photio is applied. As the founders themselves, Constanza Escobar, Jaime Rovegno and Matías Moya, say, it is like planting trees without trees.

Undoubtedly, photosynthesis remains the most efficient technology for harnessing light energy, and plants are the best technologists.

Im3 with Light as one of the axes of technological development for the engineering of the future!!