June 02, 2009
A New Hope
There is new hope for incandescent light bulbs. Shooting them with lasers can raise their efficiency dramatically.
An ultra-powerful laser can turn regular incandescent light bulbs into power-sippers, say optics researchers at the University of Rochester. The process could make a light as bright as a 100-watt bulb consume less electricity than a 60-watt bulb while remaining far cheaper and radiating a more pleasant light than a fluorescent bulb can.Now that is promising. But wait. There is more.
In addition to increasing the brightness of a bulb, Guo's process can be used to tune the color of the light as well. In 2008, his team used a similar process to change the color of nearly any metal to blue, golden, and gray, in addition to the black he'd already accomplished. Guo and Vorobyev used that knowledge of how to control the size and shape of the nanostructures--and thus what colors of light those structures absorb and radiate--to change the amount of each wavelength of light the tungsten filament radiates. Though Guo cannot yet make a simple bulb shine pure blue, for instance, he can change the overall radiated spectrum so that the tungsten, which normally radiates a yellowish light, could radiate a more purely white light.Let a guy loose with a laser and some spare time and you never know what might happen.
And to think it all started with Edison. Did you know that you can buy a replica 1890 Edison 40 Watt Light Bulb? Me either. You can read some history on how we got where we are today in terms of light and electricity in: Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World. Did you know that Tesla started us on the path to fluorescent bulb technology? And the wonders are still coming.
H/T jgarry at Talk Polywell
Cross Posted at Power and Control
posted by Simon on 06.02.09 at 01:40 PM
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