Scientists in the US say they have developed a new type of lighting that could replace fluorescent bulbs and could be in production as early as 2013. The new light bulbs are made from layers of plastic and emit a better quality of light, and unlike old fluorescent bulbs, which give out a harsh, unnatural white light, these bulbs can be tinted with any colour that is required.
The bulbs are also said to be so much more efficient, in that they only produce light and not heat, that they have a life expectancy of up to 23 years. This could signal the end of old fluorescent strip lights.
The new light source is called field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology and is made from combining three layers of white-emitting polymer, each containing a small volume of nanomaterials that glow when electric current is passed through them. The inventor of the device is Dr David Carroll, professor of physics at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. These new bulbs can be made into any shape and do not have the harsh blue light associated with fluorescent bulbs.
Dr Carroll told BBC News that: “They [fluorescent bulbs] have a bluish, harsh tint to them, it is not really accommodating to the human eye; people complain of headaches and the reason is the spectral content of that light doesn’t match the Sun – our device can match the solar spectrum perfectly,” he added: “I’m saying we are brighter than one of these curlicue bulbs and I can give you any tint to that white light that you want.”
And the energy-saving to world-wide fuel costs should not be underestimated as lighting accounts for around 19% of global electricity use. It is thought that if the world switched to low-energy bulbs, it could save the output of around 600 power plants
The new light bulb is cost-effective, cheap to manufacture and last for much longer than standard bulbs. Dr Carroll said: “What we’ve found is a way of creating light rather than heat. Our devices contain no mercury, they contain no caustic chemicals and they don’t break as they are not made of glass.” He has a “corporate partner” who is interested in manufacturing the device and believes the first production runs will take place in 2013.
And the final proof is that Dr Carroll already has one working in his laboratory which has been giving him light for over ten years.
Source: BBC News