Feeds

New 'plasma lamps' to replace fluorescent bulbs, LEDs

Boffins bid for spinout riches on flat, bendy glow-sheets

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Boffins hope to be rolling in cash after finding a new way to use plasma to make light bulbs.

The research team, which was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, has made wafer-thin, flexible sheets of light by putting plasma in an array of micro-cavities in a sheet of aluminium foil, and now hopes to build a company from the discovery.

The foil has a thickness of just 125 microns, and then the cavities are sealed with very thin sheets of glass, creating a "bulb" that is one or two millimetres thick.

A number of gases can be used to make the plasma needed for the arrays, but in the commercial versions of the lights, rare gases produce ultraviolet light and special phosphors convert the UV into visible light.

The company set up to market the bulbs is called Eden Park Illumination after the two boffins who came up with the arrays, Gary Eden and Sung-Jin Park.

Apart from being flat and flexible, the new lights are more energy efficient because of their shape: an ordinary fluorescent light tube has an efficiency of around 75 to 80 lumens per watt, but a lot of that is lost because of its 360 degree design. The arrays have a utilisation efficiency of over 90 per cent so a smaller array has the same output.

The plasma lights can be dimmed, they don't contain mercury and they generate far less heat than LEDs. You won't be seeing the bulbs at your corner shop anytime soon though, because although the materials to manufacture the arrays are cheap, the rate of production isn't up to speed yet. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.