Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lighting Revolution Forecast By Top Scientist

Date:
July 22, 2009
Source:
AlphaGalileo Foundation
Summary:
New developments in a substance which emits brilliant light could lead to a revolution in lighting for the home and office in five years, claims a leading UK materials scientist. The source of the huge potential he foresees, gallium nitride (GaN), is already used for some lighting applications such as camera flashes, bicycle lights, mobile phones and interior lighting for buses, trains and planes. It could reduce the typical electricity consumption for lighting of a developed country by around 75% while delivering major cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from power stations, and preserving fossil fuel reserves.

In search of the 60 - year household light bulb - packaged green LEDs on InGaN multiple quantum well devices grown at Cambridge University.
Credit: Image courtesy of AlphaGalileo Foundation

New developments in a substance which emits brilliant light could lead to a revolution in lighting for the home and office in five years, claims a leading UK materials scientist, Professor Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University. The source of the huge potential he foresees, gallium nitride (GaN), is already used for some lighting applications such as camera flashes, bicycle lights, mobile phones and interior lighting for buses, trains and planes.

But making it possible to use GaN for home and office lighting is the Holy Grail. If achieved, it could reduce the typical electricity consumption for lighting of a developed country by around 75% while delivering major cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from power stations, and preserving fossil fuel reserves.

‘GaN LEDs have a very exciting future' says Professor Humphreys. ‘In particular they are incredibly long lasting. A GaN LED can burn for 100,000hours - one hundred times longer than a conventional light bulb. In practice this means it only needs replacing after 60 years of normal household use. Also, unlike the energy-saving compact fluorescent lights now in use, GaN LEDs don't contain mercury so disposal is not such an environmental headache.'

But to unlock these benefits, important barriers need to be tackled by scientists. GaN LEDs are too expensive to manufacture for wide scale deployment in homes and workplaces. And the harsh quality of the light produced is another limiting factor. At the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride where Professor Humphreys leads the research, a detailed new theory that explains the mystery of why GaN emits light so strongly has recently been developed in collaboration with Professor Phil Dawson of Manchester University. ‘

Such understanding is vital to improving GaN lighting's quality and efficiency' says Professor Humphreys. ‘Our centre is also working on an innovative technique for growing GaN on six-inch diameter silicon wafers, rather than the sapphire wafers used to date. This could deliver a tenfold reduction in manufacturing costs and so help GaN lighting penetrate new markets'. Another of the centre's projects is investigating how GaN lighting could be made to mimic sunlight which could have important benefits for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

‘GaN lighting should start making its mark in homes and offices within about five years', predicts Professor Humphreys. ‘That won't just be good news for the environment - it will also benefit consumers in terms of convenience, electricity bills and quality of life.'

Looking further ahead, the possibilities for GaN light appear wide-ranging. Currently, GaN LEDs are phosphor -coated to transform the light from blue into white. But there could be scope to remove the coating and incorporate mini LEDs, each producing a different colour, in the overall ‘light bulb'. Together the mini LEDs would produce white light, but people in the home or office could alter the precise balance, for example to a bluish light, to suit their mood. ‘This and other applications, for example in healthcare for detecting tumours, and water treatment for developing countries, might be achievable in 10 years', says Professor Humphreys.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by AlphaGalileo Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

AlphaGalileo Foundation. "Lighting Revolution Forecast By Top Scientist." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702080116.htm>.
AlphaGalileo Foundation. (2009, July 22). Lighting Revolution Forecast By Top Scientist. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702080116.htm
AlphaGalileo Foundation. "Lighting Revolution Forecast By Top Scientist." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702080116.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins