Thursday, 20 August 2015

Scientists have found a way to make LEDs even more energy efficient!


We all know that LEDs can do wonders for our energy bills and help us reduce our carbon footprint but some people are reluctant to pay out the initial cost for the long term investment that LEDs are. Hopefully this is all about to change. 

Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA are leading research to find a more sustainable and cheaper white LED. Although LEDs are everywhere now, more widespread use of the technology is limited due to the cost of the raw materials used to manufacture them and issues with light output. 
Researchers at Rutgers University have hoping to overcome these obstacles. Currently, the soft white colour that can be achieved in an LED is a blue coloured LED chip with a phosphor coating, this is how warmer colours of LEDs are created. This coating is made from materials which are composed of rare-earth elements, these elements are in short supply and are expensive. 

The research team at Rutgers University, led by Jing Li, is developing a hybrid phosphor based technology that will be much more sustainable, efficient and of a lower cost. This hybrid will use common and earth-abundant metals with organic luminescent molecules which will make it much easier to control the light that is created from the LED. 

This new research will hopefully bring down the already drastically falling price of LEDs so that more people will make the change to LED. Zhichao Hu, a member of Li's team has commented that,  'if more people in the US used LEDs in their homes and businesses, the country's electricity consumption could be cut in half.' He added that studies have shown that if every American house hold swapped one incandescent lamp for an LED it could save the country a staggering $700 million in annual energy costs. 

This shows the significant impact LEDs can have not just on our own energy bills but those of the world, perhaps if this new research brings out a change in the cost of LEDs, the world will be a much more energy efficient place, sooner than we had hoped. 




This blog post was adapted from http://phys.org/news/2015-08-technology-energy-greenhouse-gas-emissions.html . August 19th, 2015