The research developed at VICARTE on luminescent glasses, produced by incorporating rare earth in the vitreous matrix, enabled a wide palette of colours (red, pink, green, blue, yellow, orange and indigo) in soda-lime silicate, borosilicate and lead glasses under the project PTDC/EAT-AVP/118520/2010.

Renowned glass artists such as Cesare Toffolo and Vittorio Costantini, as well as the artists of VICARTE, have exploited the potential of these materials in works presented in national and international exhibitions. In particular, VICARTE conceived and promoted the international exhibition "Within light/inside glass, an Intersection between art and science" (Venice 2015; Lisbon 2015-2016), with the collaboration of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti and Millenium BCP and others. The collaboration between Axolight and the VICARTE artist Richard Meitner, resulted in the development of prototypes of luminous sculptures, bringing together the technologies and processes connected to the industrial design of Axolight and the experience, creativity and research of VICARTE. 

The significance of the results of this project resulted in a strategic collaboration with LAQV@Requimte to study the use of raw materials more accessible than rare earths, such as Cu and Mn (PTDC/QEQ-QIN/3007/2014). These glasses are being used to study energy transfer processes and possible technological applications. Finally, this project also includes the development of new luminescent surface colouring coatings using enamels and zeolites and application of the produced materials on glass substrates through various low-cost techniques, namely, brushing, spray and silkscreen painting. 

Previous research developed with LAQV@REQUIMTE will extend to the production of innovative cost-effective luminescent glasses and surface colouring coatings. Several approaches and products will be explored:

- use of economically viable elements such as Cu to obtain luminescence in the glass;

- glass produced with noble metals clusters, to confer and also enhance the luminescence of other emissive species;

- new luminescent surface colouring coatings using non-toxic glass-based paints and zeolites, to be applied on glass substrates using low-cost techniques, as spray or silk screen-printing.

This work will result in new photophysical properties, commercial opportunities for new design products, luminescent solar concentrators and in art making.