Coming Soon: 3G Lightbulbs

by Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a method of producing LEDs that is three times more efficient than CFLs and makes bulbs that last for sixty years.

Gallium nitride lights are already adorning monuments like Tower Bridge in London, but current production methods make them prohibitively expensive for consumer use. Most of the cost comes from the sapphire wire used to grow the GaN crystals. The researchers discovered a method of layering aluminum gallium nitride onto silicon wafers that can then be used to grow GaN crystals. This process grows nine times more crystals and is significantly cheaper. Thus reducing production costs by a factor of ten and making GaN LEDs price competitive with other standard household light bulbs.

If test projections are correct, they could reduce household lighting costs by 75%. Obviously, there would be significant energy savings as well. Widespread energy efficiency is crucial to reducing climate change, so these new LEDs will be a blessing to consumers and the environment alike. Not to mention, they light up instantly, are dimmable and don’t contain mercury which has made disposal of CFLs so problematic.

The bulbs should be available in five years are estimated to cost about $3 apiece. My lamp feels obsolete already.

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