Switched on to new technology
Researchers are developing new technology that could replace the household light-bulb within three years.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), already used in electrical equipment such as computers and mobile phones, are several times more energy efficient than standard light-bulbs. However, because of their structure and material, much of the light in standard LEDs becomes trapped, reducing the brightness of the light and making them unsuitable as the main lighting source in the home.
Now researchers believe they have found a way of introducing a new generation of LEDs into households that are brighter and use even less power than standard energy efficient light-bulbs.
Dr Faiz Rahman, the researcher leading the project at the University of Glasgow, said: “By making microscopic holes on the surface of the LEDs it is possible to extract more light, thus increasing the brightness of the lights without increasing the energy consumption. As yet, LEDs have not been introduced as the standard lighting in homes because the process of making the holes is very time consuming and expensive. However, by using world-class facilities at the University of Glasgow we believe we have found a way of imprinting the holes into billions of LEDs at a far greater speed, but at a much lower cost.
“LEDs not only use less power than current energy efficient light-bulbs but they are much smaller and can last years without needing to be replaced. This means the days of the humble light-bulb could soon be over.”
The team of researchers use a technique called nano-imprint lithography to directly imprint the holes, imperceptible to the human eye, onto the LEDs allowing more of the light to escape.
The project is being developed in conjunction with the Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, Mesophotonics Ltd and Sharp Laboratories of Europe, as part of the BERR Technology Programme.
The state-of-the-art nanotechnology facilities at the University of Glasgow allow researchers to make huge leaps in the technology of mass-fabrication, meaning the latest developments in electrical equipment can be brought from the lab to the public faster and more cost effectively.
First published: 3 January 2008