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New LED light bulbs that will shine for 60 years
2009-09-26 10:23:19
New LED light bulbs that will shine for 60 years

The European Union is currently in the process of banning traditional light bulbs due to their non-efficient, environment-harming properties. Which is admirable. But new LED light bulbs could be on the way that make fluorescent bulbs, the current darling of the green movement, look like something from The Flintstones.

It was announced at the beginning of the year that incandescent light bulbs were going to start being phased out in favor of compact fluorescent lights. In Europe, 100 watt bulbs will be banned from September, with all old-fashioned light bulbs gone by 2012.

This move is being done in order to force the adoption of CFL light bulbs, more commonly known as energy-saving or energy-efficient bulbs. But by 2012, CFL bulbs themselves may be old-fashioned and considered defunct, because low-cost, even more energy-efficient bulbs are on the way thanks to a development in LED (light emitting diode) technology.

According to Daily Tech, a team of researchers at Cambridge University have made a huge leap forward in making LED light bulbs a consumer-friendly possibility. They could be ready for the marketplace in five years time, cost a mere $2.85, and last up to 60 years (100,000 hours).

Until now, the cost of producing LED light bulbs has prevented them from becoming widespread. New Scientist explains that the gallium nitride that makes up the LED bulbs cannot be grown on silicon as other electronic components can due to the fast shrinkage rate when it is cooled from its 1000°C prime growing temperature.

Colin Humphreys’ team at the University of Cambridge has solved this problem by including layers of aluminum gallium nitride in their LED bulb designs. This material shrinks at a much slower rate and counteracts the pure form of gallium nitride also present.

The new LED light bulbs would be three times more efficient than their CFL counterparts, light up instantly (which will please the visually impaired out there), last four times longer, and cut energy bills. All in all, these new bulbs make the CFLs in most houses look positively ancient. I wonder how long until the EU bans CFL light bulbs in favor of these beauties?

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