Another Lighting Alternative Emerges
While the struggle to transition from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents continues, and people try to wrap their heads around the eventual move to more efficient (but expensive) LEDs, yet another alternative light source has emerged.
Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have come up with field-induced polymer elecroluminescent (FIPEL)-based plastic bulbs that can give off light that is more pleasing to the human eye, and without the environmental risks of CFL bulbs.
FIPEL has been around for a while, but the Wake Forest team is the first to turn it into a commercially viable light source using a blend of polymers imbued with nanomaterials that glow when electrically stimulated.
You can read their research report in the current issue of Organic Electronics.
The team claims that FIPEL is twice as efficient as CFLs and about equal with LEDs. More importantly, the light can be tuned during manufacturing to emit the type of soft, white light consumers want from their bulbs, but which has been difficult to obtain from existing CFLs and LEDs. The material can be molded into a standard bulb, or turned into large sheets or panels that could be embedded into a wall, for example.
“People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their eyes, and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk underneath them,” said David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest. “The new lights we have created can cure both of those problems and more.”
The university is working with a company to manufacture FIPEL bulbs, and plans to have a consumer offering available as early as next year.
Source: Wake Forest University