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 April 20, 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 April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. 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