A lab at the University of Waterloo claims to have developed a new, cheaper to produce, LED light bulb for consumers.
With electricity-gulping incandescent bulbs quickly disappearing off store shelves due to government mandated energy regulations, consumers will soon have to turn their attention towards CFL and LED light bulbs. Unfortunately, CFL bulbs have not proven to be popular with consumers due to the unpleasant color of light they produce. They also contain mercury, which could cause environmental and health problems if broken. To top it off, there are also concerns that the ultraviolet and blue light produced by the bulbs can cause skin and retinal damage. While LED bulbs are the best choice regarding energy consumption, color of light, and health concerns, they are also prohibitively expensive for the regular consumer. However, Pavle Radovanovic of the University of Waterloo, says his team may have a solution.
Traditionally, LED lights use rare-earth elements in their conversion process to create white-light. These rare-earth elements offset the natural red, green, and blue light emitted by the LEDs, to create a light pleasant to the human eye. However, these are also the materials that drive up the costs for consumers. Radovanovic’s lab team have created chemically-modified nanoparticles to tune the LED lights to a specific hue, which will allow a pleasant white-light at a reduced cost. While the team has currently produced prototypes, Radovanovic says that they are currently negotiating with several venture capital firms to fund a start-up. If successful, they hope to start full-scale production within the next several years.
With countries such as Brazil and Venezuela phasing out the regular use of incandescent bulbs in 2005, the United States and Canada are oddly just beginning to diminish the use of the bulbs. With 4-billion light bulb sockets in the United States alone, hopefully Radovanovic’s lab makes the transition easier on consumers’ wallets.