Around the year 1700, Isaac Newton discovered that sunlight contains a colorful potpourri of visible wavelengths in the colors violet, blue, green, yellow and red. Today we know that sunlight also contains invisible ultraviolet rays (< 350 nanometers) and warming infrared radiation (700 – 2500 nanometers). And even this is just a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves.
It is this broad spectrum of light under which life on Earth has formed and evolved. Sunlight has accompanied our evolution for three billion years – and various organisms and life forms have employed the energy of the Sun to grow and flourish.
Though exciting, this is only the first chapter of a spectacular story. Today we are not only able to use the Sun as a source of energy through solar cells, but we can use the same technology the other way around – and transform electric energy into light.
Our technology enables every spectral section of sunlight to shine individually. This is pure gold for evolution, as every wavelength range has its own potential to start physical and biological processes. Infrared heats up matter. Visible light influences the formation of plant substances. Ultraviolet photons split chemical compounds.