When being treated for jaundice in incubators, newborns must lie naked and with their eyes covered for protection. Irradiation with blue light in an incubator is necessary because toxic decomposition products of the blood pigment hemoglobin are deposited in the skin in newborns with jaundice. Researchers at the Empa division Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles (Dübendorf, Switzerland) have now improved this not-so-child-friendly procedure by developing illuminated pajamas for babies.1
To do this, the material researchers created textiles with polymer optical fibers woven into them. Battery-operated LEDs serve as a light source for the light-conducting threads. Together with conventional thread, the optical fibers are woven into a satin material that distributes the light supply evenly throughout the fabric, and is comfortable to the newborn. With a diameter of around 160 µm, the dimensions of the optical fibers match that of regular threads.