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Light & Energy Roundup

January 14, 2016

Engineers demonstrate a new way to harvest the wasted energy of an incandescent light bulb.

Transcript

106335_web A nanophotonic incandescent light bulb demonstrates the ability to tailor light radiated by a hot object Ognjen Ilic

A nanophotonic incandescent light bulb demonstrates the ability to tailor light radiated by a hot object. (Ognjen Ilic)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Rehabilitating the light bulb. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Incandescent light bulbs produce a nice warm light, but 95% of the energy they use is wasted as heat. Now in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, MIT researchers describe a new kind of incandescent bulb that’s even more efficient than an LED. The new bulbs have a crystal structure that surrounds the bulb filament, absorbs the waste heat, and converts it back into light. The team calls it “light recycling,” and say the technique could find wide use capturing and reusing otherwise wasted energy.

In other news, Stanford scientists may have a cure for lithium ion batteries that catch fire in everything from hoverboards to cars. In the journal Nature Energy, they describe a conducting polyethylene film that acts like a reversible fuse, shutting down the battery when it gets too hot, and restarting it when it cools. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.