ENEA studies future plants in hi-tech greenhouse
A team of researchers from the ENEA Research Centre in Portici is testing, under the public-private research project called Tripode, a hi-tech greenhouse, equipped with an innovative LED-based lighting system with the aim of studying the behaviour of plants cultivated indoor and under stress.
The objective is to manage growing plants in peculiar settings, in the absence of features that encourage their growth, i.e. indoor or in extreme conditions, such as space stations.
In particular, researchers are using organic electronics by testing the effects of organic LEDs or OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) on the growth and nutritional qualities of plants in this type of environment.
OLEDs, differently from normal synthetic LEDs, are made of a compound of organic substances such as carbon, which, when polarized, emit electromagnetic radiations within the spectrum of bright visible light radiations. Due to the monopolar nature of the layers of organic materials, OLEDs allow current to flow in one direction only.
The hi-tech greenhouse being tested re-creates a lab microcosm, accurately reproducing plant underground and aerial environments, and is useful for research in a number of fields of biology, such as physiology, pathology and vegetable parasitology, ecophysiology, ecotoxicology, terrestrial ecology.
The innovative lighting system is based on “precision“ cultivation approach which provides plants with light at selected wave lengths instead of the entire solar spectrum.
The public-private laboratory “Tecnologie di ricerca per l’integrazione dei polimeri nei dispositivi elettronici” or TRIPODE is a project funded under the National Operational Programme for Research and Competitiveness 2007-2013 (NOP for R&C) for the Convergence Regions, to enhance an existent public-private laboratory.