Plastic light bulbs

Aside from the spiraling energy-saver bulbs (CFLs) and then LEDs, you might be under the false impression that light bulbs haven’t changed too drastically over the years. However, with the advent of a new bulb made from layers of plastic, the venerable technology might be getting yet another overhaul.

The bulbs emit light using technology known as field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology, or FIPEL. FIPEL isn’t entirely new technology — it involves sending electricity through a conductive polymer to create light. However, it doesn’t create enough to make for an efficient bulb. Inventor of the new bulb, Dr. David Carroll of Wake Forest University, states the new material can be made into any shape. He also notes that the new bulb produces a higher quality of light, making it easier for people’s eyes to adjust to, matching the light of the Sun in terms of quality.

Carroll also states that the new FIPEL bulbs work more efficiently than LEDs or OLEDs, noting that OLEDs don’t last long enough, and will melt when too much electric current passes through them in order to get a brighter light, whereas the FIPEL bulb won’t. The trick is that the team has figured out how to create light without heat, not using caustic chemicals or mercury to produce the light, and since they’re made of plastic, they’re much more durable than glass bulbs. The duration of the FIPEL bulb is longer as well, with one in his lab lasting over a decade.

He says that the team has a “corporate partner” looking into manufacturing the new bulb, and that they might being rolling off the production line as early as 2013.

BBC, via ExtremeTech