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New Light

December 19, 2012

A new light type, called a FIPEL, may outshine most of today’s options.



Seeing in a new light.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Old-fashioned light bulbs waste energy. Fluorescents are ugly and they buzz and flicker. LEDs are expensive and look bluish. But none of these problems are true of the new field-induced polymer electro-luminescent light, or FIPEL, developed by Wake Forest University physicist David Carroll.  The shatter-proof lights work by creating a polarized electric current.

DAVID CARROLL (WakeForestUniversity):

We apply a field between two plates, one plate is transparent, the other plate is a reflector.  And we put a piece of plastic in there which is very sensitive to that field, and it glows when you apply the field to it.

By mixing in luminescent dyes, Carroll’s team can tweak the glowing polymer to create any color in the light spectrum.  They’ve also made it efficient enough to light a room or an office for up to 50,000 hours, at a fraction of the cost of fluorescents.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

New lighting technology, called FIPEL, may solve many of the problems found in other kinds of lights. (Ken Bennett / WFU)