A Brave New LED World
December 15, 2007 11:12 PM
comment(s) - last by
Scientist hope to put LEDs to work in brilliant new ways
light emitting diodes
, are a very old invention, with the first visible-light diode being invented in 1962. They consist of a junction of semiconducting material, such as a silicon or gallium compound. However, scientists today are looking to teach this old dog some new tricks, and putting LEDs
in a plethora of
The magic is in the material. While LEDs have been around for a long time, new and exotic materials are being used and older materials are being tweaked and reformulated to provide, a wider range of colors, brighter light, and higher efficiency.
The result is that LEDs may soon be permeating our lives in new ways. LEDs are already
invading the automobile headlight industry
and are in high demand due to their superior life and brightness.
Now one place scientists are looking to plant the LED is in the home. Tungsten lightbulbs have a very low 5% efficiency, compared to modern LEDs, which have around a healthy 40% efficiency. The result is power savings, increased brightness, and superior life. Obstacles standing in the way of this development are the still higher cost of LEDs and the fact that LEDs' white light has much more blue than sunlight or natural bulbs. However, these obstacles are fading as costs slowly drop and scientists develop better material blends to provide more yellow to the LED's emissions, making for a warm light that would be welcome in many a household.
Scientists are also looking to put tiny LEDs to a new use in the lab and eventually in commercial internet connections -- quantum cryptography. Tiny streams of photons in the system would pass from the LED to the a detector. Any interception of the beam (ie. snooping) would result in the signal being altered, as per the
. Such a system, when properly implemented would be in theory immune to any sort of malicious interception between the sender and the receiver.
Yet another use for the little lights has been proposed by scientists -- this one with promise of bringing new high-tech hope to impoverished regions. One of the world's largest problems is the lack of clean drinking water in third-world nations. Chemicals can be used to treat drinking water, but they are often expensive, toxic, and require a large amount of infrastructure. A frequently used alternative is high-energy UV light known as "deep UV", emitted from special UV bulbs. Passing a beam of this light through water kills most bacteria and destroys most viruses cleanly and simply. The issue with this system is bulbs constantly need to be replaced and are two bulky for small scale use.
Scientists feel the answer is deep UV LEDs. While they are still working on perfecting the materials, researchers, such as Dr Rachel Oliver, an LED researcher from the University of Cambridge, think it is just a matter of time before the optimal combination of materials is found.
"Deep-UV can't be made from the combination of materials we're used to, although I certainly think it's possible," Dr. Oliver stated.
Dr. Oliver is among many researchers striving to put LEDs to use in new and creative ways. She sees LEDs being commercially implemented in the aforementioned uses within 10 to 20 years.
For now these prospects still remaining cost prohibitive and are dependent on material breakthroughs, but the future sure looks bright for these little devices. And companies are looking to put LEDs today to a different and even more outlandish use --
every airport security officer's worst nightmare
Whatever their form, LEDs are transforming the way we light and see our world.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Don't forget...
12/16/2007 2:30:16 AM
Not just warmer climates, heat is a problem in many areas that require lighting as it would take extra cooling to dissipate the heat.
For one, server farms and data centers where there are a large amount of computer equipment running in very tight confines. There needs to be sufficient light to see by, especially when trying to look through a spaghetti web of wires. But the extra heat from lighting means more cooling is needed. Not only would leds save money from more efficient use of power, but it also produces less heat which means you save money again on cooling.
Grammar Police: The issue with this system is bulbs constantly need to be replaced and are
bulky for small scale use.
Should read "too" and not "two" I'm going to assume. :)
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
MIT Student Arrested at Gunpoint in Airport for Electronics Shirt
September 24, 2007, 4:55 AM
Driving LED Emoticon
July 26, 2007, 2:05 PM
World's First 16.7M Color Flexible OLED Display
May 25, 2007, 1:15 PM
Philips Demonstrates LED Fabric Technology
January 20, 2007, 1:40 AM
LED Headlights Find Their Way to High-End Automobiles
October 26, 2006, 3:00 PM
New Reversible "Type-C" USB Plug Coming in Mid-2014
December 4, 2013, 10:38 AM
IDC Reports PC Shipments Will Decline by Double Digits in 2013
December 4, 2013, 10:18 AM
Canon EOS M2 Digital Camera Unveiled In Japan
December 3, 2013, 11:10 AM
Applebee's to Place Tablets at Each Table for Paying the Check, Ordering Food
December 3, 2013, 10:01 AM
Quick Note: Sony PS4 Sells 2.1 Million Units
December 3, 2013, 8:16 AM
UK iPhone Sales Show 5S Preference by Three-to-One Over 5C
December 2, 2013, 10:55 AM
Most Popular Articles
NSA Snares Americans' Porn Viewing Histories in Effort to Target Muslims
December 1, 2013, 9:00 PM
Coalition of 20+ Tech Firms Backs MRAM as Potential DRAM, NAND Replacement
November 29, 2013, 11:59 PM
Fed Up With Cheating OEMs, Microsoft Trolls Chromebooks in New Ad
November 27, 2013, 4:09 PM
Xbox? PCs? Mobile? Microsoft Wants One Windows to Rule Them All
November 25, 2013, 8:21 PM
Seattle Restaurant Bans Google Glass, Tells Wearers to "Just shut up and get out"
November 27, 2013, 10:27 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
U.S. Army Developing Cyber, Electronic War Arsenal
Oct 31, 2013, 4:49 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information