Room temperature phosphorescence from natural wood activated by external chloride anion treatment

Yingxiang Zhai, Shujun Li, Jian Li, Shouxin Liu, Tony D. James, Jonathan L. Sessler, Zhijun Chen

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16 Citations (SciVal)


Producing afterglow room temperature phosphorescence (RTP) from natural sources is an attractive approach to sustainable RTP materials. However, converting natural resources to RTP materials often requires toxic reagents or complex processing. Here we report that natural wood may be converted into a viable RTP material by treating with magnesium chloride. Specifically, immersing natural wood into an aqueous MgCl2 solution at room temperature produces so-called C-wood containing chloride anions that act to promote spin orbit coupling (SOC) and increase the RTP lifetime. Produced in this manner, C-wood exhibits an intense RTP emission with a lifetime of ~ 297 ms (vs. the ca. 17.5 ms seen for natural wood). As a demonstration of potential utility, an afterglow wood sculpture is prepared in situ by simply spraying the original sculpture with a MgCl2 solution. C-wood was also mixed with polypropylene (PP) to generate printable afterglow fibers suitable for the fabrication of luminescent plastics via 3D printing. We anticipate that the present study will facilitate the development of sustainable RTP materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2614
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Z.J.C. wishes to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31890774) and the Natural Science Funding of Heilong Jiang province for Excellent Young Scholar (YQ2020C017). T.D.J. wishes to thank the Royal Society for a Wolfson Research Merit Award and the Open Research Fund of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Henan Normal University for support (2020ZD01). J.L.S. acknowledges the Robert A. Welch Foundation (F-0018) for support.

Data availability
All relevant data are included in this article and its Supplementary Information files. Source data are provided with this paper.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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