LED Lighting May Soon Be Available For Mainstream Use


Chicago (IL) - A major issue of reducing the cost of "solid state lighting" has recently been overcome by researchers at Purdue University. A new silicon-based production technology could help to reduce the electricity consumption by 10% if it were to be widely adopted and utilized.

The drawback to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that are currently available for purchase is their cost : They are expensive mainly because they are created on a substrate of sapphire. The researchers at Purdue claim to have solved this issue by developing a method of creating LEDs on low-cost, metal-coated silicon wafers.

LEDs are estimated to be four times as efficient as your conventional incandescent lights. They are also claimed to be more economically sound than compact fluorescent bulbs that contain harmful mercury and are supposed to last a lot longer than your conventional lighting - with estimates putting the devices at a 15 year lifespan.

"The LED technology has the potential of replacing all incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, which would have dramatic energy and environmental ramifications," said Timothy Sands, professor at Purdue.

LEDs that have been designed to emit white light are key to solid-state lighting, semiconducting devices made of layers of materials that allow light to shine through when electricity is applied to them. Conventional lighting generates light using hot metal filaments or glowing glasses that have been placed inside glass tubes.

In the past, the use of LEDs has been limited to items such as indicator lamps in toys and electronics, but recent advances in LED technology has made it possible for them to shine as brightly as incandescent bulbs.

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  • waxdart
    The problem is the light they give off is not very nice to sit in or read by. This new batch will have to have better colour temps or they'll not make it passed the hall in many homes.
    Most people in the UK will have the same issue as we tend to use the warmer bulbs and Halogen spots.
  • LePhuronn
    Easy to fix waxdart: coloured enclosures for the actual LED. Stick a LED in some tinted glass surround (like the warming filter on a camera lens) and there you go. At the very least you can frost the enclosure to diffuse the light.

    Besides, I'd debate whether or not white LED light is worse than some of the higher wattage halogens or energy-saving bulbs, and certainly in the case of halogens I've been under many pure whites which aren't as harsh as you'd expect, or those with tinted glass to warm them up.
  • Anonymous
    I live here in the states and very near to Cree which is one of the leaders in LED technology. I attended a seminar there a few weeks ago and was able to see how they make the industrial lighting products. I was especially interested in the color quality of the LED light. They showed us the incan and LED versions of the same lamp. You could NOT tell them apart. The showed us how its done. They have yellow/red LEDs in the fixture as well as the white ones. There is a sensor in the lamp that adjusts all of the LEDs so the color temperature stays the same over the life of the lamp. Based on what I saw it worked very well.

    I don't work for Cree or have any connection to them. We are looking at putting their lighting products in the plant I work in though.