End in sight for domestic light bulbs?New LEDs are brighter and use less power

29 December 2007

A closeup of a lightbulb

Scientists are developing a new generation of super efficient household light bulbs which could spell the end of regular bulbs within three years.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are already used in electrical gadgets like mobile phones and computers.

Until now they have been unsuitable for use in the home because they are not bright enough to light whole rooms.

Power efficient

Now researchers believe they have found a way of introducing LEDs into households that are brighter and use even less power than current energy efficient light bulbs.

Dr Faiz Rahman, who is 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, 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.'

Nano-imprint

The team of researchers have been using a technique called nano-imprint lithography to directly imprint the holes on to the LEDs, allowing more of the light to escape.

The project is being developed in conjunction with the Institute of Photonics and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Dr Rahman added: '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.'

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