Foto: SEM image of the nanofibers. Two differently 'programmed' zones have been exposed to high temperatures. In an area the nanofibers remained intact, in the other they melted into a uniform film


Pisa - 10.12.2020 - Optically-programmed 'smart label' based on nano-textured non-wovens fibers
Detecting interruptions in the supply cold chain and exposure to inappropriate temperature are essential operations in the food or pharmaceutical sector. In the days of the development of a first anti Covid-19 vaccine, which must be stored and transported at 70 degrees below zero, the issue is in the spotlight.

A possible answer to this problem comes from a research published in Nature Communications, coordinated by researchers from Cnr-NANO and the University of Pisa in collaboration with the Scuola Normale Superiore, Cnr-IPCF and the University of Messina. The team, coordinated by Luana Persano, researcher operating at the NEST Laboratory of Cnr-Nano and Scuola Normale Superiore, developed new nanomaterials with thermal properties that can be programmed using light. A result that would help to design smart labels for temperature monitoring.

Researchers developed an optically-programmed, non-colorimetric indicators based on nano-textured non-wovens encoded by their cross-linking degree. This combination allows a desired time-temperature response to be achieved, to address different perishable products. The devices operate by visual contrast with ambient light, which is explained by backscattering calculations for the complex fibrous material. Optical nanomaterials with photo-encoded thermal properties might establish new design rules for intelligent labels.

Romano, L., Portone, A., Coltelli, MB. et al. Intelligent non-colorimetric indicators for the perishable supply chain by non-wovens with photo-programmed thermal response. Nat Commun 11, 5991 (2020).



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