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How Many Scientists Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

by Carrie Swiggum 


Tags: light bulb, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, e!ScienceNews, Optics Express, LED,

christmas lights

When the Beatles sang the song “Revolution,” they probably weren’t thinking about changing lightbulbs. But LEDs (light-emitting diodes) could “revolutionize how we use light,” according to two professors from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in a recent article published in Optics Express.

Researchers working on alternative lighting solutions say LED lights will replace the common lightbulb in the coming years. e!ScienceNews reports, “If all of the world's lightbulbs were replaced with energy-efficient LEDs for a period of 10 years, researchers say it would reduce global oil consumption by 962 million barrels, reduce the need for 280 global power plants, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10.68 gigatons, and ultimately result in financial savings of $1.83 trillion. 

Image by Spatulated, licensed under Creative Commons.

aaron se
12/23/2008 12:32:57 PM

LED's are inherently red, yellow or green (until very recently), and all "white" LED fixtures on the market are filtered in order to mask their actual color. This is why fixtures that emit standard white light are projected to have roughly half the illumination life-span of the red, yellow, or green LED that's behind the filter (the heat produced by the filter causes it to "burn out" faster). Recently scientists have developed a new spectrum of LED colors using new OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, and this spectrum includes LED's that are inherently 13 different colors (without the need of a filter): Deep Red (700nm), Red (660nm traditional red LED), Orange Red (635nm "high efficiency" red), Orange (623nm also called red orange), Amber (594nm), Yellow (588nm traditional yellow LED), Yellow Green (567nm traditional green LED), True Green (523mn), Cyan (501nm verde green, blue green), Aqua (495?nm), Deep Blue (470nm ultra blue), Powder Blue (430nm first generation "powder blue LED"), and Violet (410nm) I am not aware of the commercial use of this relatively new technology, but would guess that color rendering of commercial fixtures will improve once this spectrum has been put to use.


brian h
12/21/2008 10:22:09 AM

err: "break one and you've ..."


brian h
12/21/2008 10:20:28 AM

LEDs so far are a bit too blue for my eyes and taste, and alter colors. But the alternatives, compact fluorescents, are a disaster. Break one any you've got an instant Haz-Mat incident (mercury vapor and droplets, almost impossible to clean up, highly neurotoxic.)