Missing the yellowish warm light just like everybody else on this planet, MIT researchers develop incandescent bulb better than LED and CFL.
The incandescent bulbs used for almost a century across the world have lost their popularity during the last decades because they lose a huge amount of energy as heat. Luckily, MIT scientists have found a way to transform the heat lost into visible light.
The process has been explained in a research paper published in Nature Nanotechnology journal.
The incandescent bulb as we knew it until recently was invented in the 1880s by Thomas Edison. Even if it wasn’t designed by him he developed the technology that allowed it to be cheaply mass produced and to remain stable for more than ten hours.
To create light, incandescent bulbs use electricity to heat up a tungsten wire to really high temperatures of up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700 Celsius). But only 203 percent of the energy they use is actually converted into light while the rest is being wasted as heat.
As a result, environmental groups and activists tried to remove the incandescent bulb from the market as they were contributing to the climate change. This made the European Union and Canada to ban the production and the usage of the old wasteful bulbs while in the U.S. their importation and manufacture have been phased out.
Incandescent bulbs have been replaced in the Western world with the compact fluorescent light (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED) bulbs which are about 13 percent more efficient.
But the odds run in favor of Thomas Edison, as researchers from MIT found a way to recover the loss of heat using nanotechnology to build a structure around the filament of the incandescent bulb which catches the infrared radiation and reflects it back to the filament to be re-absorbed and re-emitted in the form of visible light.
The structure is made of a light-controlling crystal which allows visible light to pass while catching the infrared and reflecting it back as if it was a mirror.
With this new technology incandescent bulbs could, in theory, become 40 times more efficient than their predecessor, which is about three times the efficiency of the best CFL and LED found on the market.
However, the concept bulb built by the research team is only three times more efficient than the old incandescent bulb, with an efficiency of 6.6 percent. But researchers are optimist that soon they will be able to improve it in practice and reach a higher efficiency.
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