Goodbye, fluorescent light bulbs! Nanomaterials bring new light to your office

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) Say goodbye to that annoying buzz  created by overhead fluorescent light bulbs in your office. Scientists at Wake  Forest University have developed a flicker-free, shatterproof alternative for  large-scale lighting.
The lighting, based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent  (FIPEL) technology, also gives off soft, white light – not the yellowish glint  from fluorescents or bluish tinge from LEDs.
“People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their  eyes, and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk  underneath them,” said David Carroll, the scientist leading the  development of this technology at Wake Forest. “The new lights we have created  can cure both of those problems and more.”
The team uses a nano-engineered polymer matrix to convert the  charge into light. This allows the researchers to create an entirely new light  bulb – overcoming one of the major barriers in using plastic lights in  commercial buildings and homes. The research supporting the technology is  described in a study appearing online in advance of publication in the  peer-reviewed journal Organic Electronics (“Effect  of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on electron injection and charge generation in  AC field-induced polymer electroluminescence”).
FIPEL Lighting
Wake  Forest University physics professor David Carroll works with graduate student  Greg Smith on new FIPEL lighting technology.
The device is made of three layers of moldable white-emitting  polymer blended with a small amount of nanomaterials that glow when stimulated  to create bright and perfectly white light similar to the sunlight human eyes  prefer. However, it can be made in any color and any shape – from 2×4-foot  sheets to replace office lighting to a bulb with Edison sockets to fit household  lamps and light fixtures.
This new lighting solution is at least twice as efficient as  compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and on par with LEDs, but these bulbs won’t  shatter and contaminate a home like CFLs or emit a bluish light like LED  counterparts.
“If you wanted blue lights, discos would still be popular. You  want lights that have a spectral content that is appealing to us inside of a  building,” Carroll said. “You want a light that won’t shatter and create a  hazmat situation while your children are around.”
Carroll’s group is the first to make a large-scale FIPEL that  can replace current office lighting and is based on natural white light. Beyond  office and home lighting, Carroll sees potential uses for large display  lighting, from store marquees to signs on buses and subway cars.
FIPELs also are long-lasting; Carroll has one that has worked  for about a decade.
Wake Forest is working with a company to manufacture the  technology and plans to have it ready for consumers as early as next year.
Carroll is the Director of the Center for Nanotechnology and  Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University. Center scientists have developed  innovative technology including highly efficient plastic solar cells; Power  Felt, a fabric that can use body heat to charge small electronics; and a  combination solar-thermal heat pump.
Source: Wake Forest University

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2 comments on “Goodbye, fluorescent light bulbs! Nanomaterials bring new light to your office

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