Saturday, October 22, 2005

LED's: Light bulb of tomorrow

I work in an industry where LED's are becoming a pretty big thing. In fact, LED's are slowly becoming more common in our everyday life, and most people aren't even aware of it. From traffic lights to tailights to flashlights, LED lights are becoming common. Now, an accident in a lab may lead to even greater use of LED's:
When you shine a light on quantum dots or apply electricity to them, they react by producing their own light, normally a bright, vibrant color. But when Bowers shined a laser on his batch of dots, something unexpected happened.

"I was surprised when a white glow covered the table," Bowers said. "The quantum dots were supposed to emit blue light, but instead they were giving off a beautiful white glow."

Then Bowers and another student got the idea to stir the dots into polyurethane and coat a blue LED light bulb with the mix. The lumpy bulb wasn't pretty, but it produced white light similar to a regular light bulb.

The new device gives off a warm, yellowish-white light that shines twice as bright and lasts 50 times longer than the standard 60 watt light bulb.

This invention is probably years from seeing commercial use, but it could render the light bulb of today obsolete by the time our grandkids or great grandkids (depending on your current stage in life) arrive on the scene.

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