Monday, 3 December 2012

Sci-fi light emitting plastic strips set to replace bulbs

If a research team from Wake Forest University, North Carolina, US, have their way, the flourescent lamps and CFL bulbs may be replaced with light emitting strips of plastic by this time, next year.

David Caroll with his invention
Sounds like science fiction? Well, a time of scientists led by David Caroll have developed a flicker-free, shatterproof alternative for large-scale lighting.

What's more, the lighting, based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology, also gives off soft, white light – not the yellowish glint from fluorescents or bluish tinge from LEDs.

The team uses a nano-engineered polymer matrix to convert the charge into light. This allows the researchers to create an entirely new light bulb – overcoming one of the major barriers in using plastic lights in commercial buildings and homes.

The device is made of three layers of moldable white light-emitting polymer blended with a small amount of nanomaterials that glow when stimulated to create bright and perfectly white light similar to the sunlight human eyes prefer.

However, it can be made in any color and any shape – from 2x4-foot sheets to replace office lighting to a bulb with Edison sockets to fit household lamps and light fixtures.

Moreover, this new lighting solution is at least twice as efficient as compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and on par with LEDs, but these bulbs won't shatter and contaminate a home like CFLs or emit a bluish light like LED counterparts.

Carroll's group is the first to make a large-scale FIPEL that can replace current office lighting and is based on natural white light. Beyond office and home lighting, Carroll sees potential uses for large display lighting, from store marquees to signs on buses and subway cars.

FIPELs also are long-lasting; Carroll has one that has worked for about a decade.

Wake Forest is working with a company to manufacture the technology and plans to have it ready for consumers as early as next year.

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