A lighter touch for glass

Materials World magazine
1 Sep 2008

Designers at the Saazs Institute, based in Paris, France, claim to have developed the first light-emitting glass, that can last for 20 years. The material could be used to create luxury lighting products for homes, hotels and retail outlets.

At over 20cm thick, the material, known as Planilum, is composed of four layers of tin-doped indium oxide conductive glass containing an ionised plasma gas. Serigraphed phosphors react to the plasma and diffuse light from specific patterns. These heat up to around body temperature so the lights can be touched without a filter or protection.

Tomas Erel, Artistic Director at Saazs, says, ‘Unlike other lighting technologies, light from Planilum does not radiate from a bulb or a distinct source, but from the material itself. The intensity is distributed on both sides over the entire surface of the material’.

Each 100W plate lights 40m2 of space, an efficiency halfway between a conventional bulb and a neon light.

Within the next three years, the researchers hope to develop glass plates which are as effective as neon lights, but do not expose the environment to toxic mercury fumes when broken.

Planilum technology is the result of a six-year collaboration with Saint-Gobain Innovations, headquartered in the French capital. The company assembles the light pieces by hand on a multilayered production line before testing for disfunction and deterioration by accelerating their use in the laboratory.

Further information:


Saint-Gobain Innovations