Like the desktop printer and the fax machine, the fluorescent overhead light might soon see a diminished role around the office. Researchers at Wake Forest University have developed a field-induced polymer elecroluminescent (FIPEL) lighting technology that silently gives off a soft, white glow, sans the annoying hum and yellow tint of fluorescent bulbs or the sharp, bluish hue of LED light fixtures.
FIPEL technology is by no means brand new, but turning it into a viable light source has taken some time. The Wake Forest team used a multi-layer white-emitting blend of polymers imbued with a small amount of nanomaterials that glow when stimulated with an electric charge. This nano-engineered polymer matrix is essentially a whole new type of light bulb, different from both the filament-filled Edison bulb and mercury-exciting fluorescent, as well as the LEDs and compact fluorescents (CFLs) that have been slowly replacing some traditional light sources in recent years.
Moreover, it is at least twice as efficient as CFLs (which are filled with hazardous materials that can leak into the environment if the bulb is broken--FIPELs are not) and roughly on par with LEDs, both of which emit light that is not quite suited to the human eye. And the FIPEL technology is tunable--it can be manufactured to give off the soft, white light human eyes prefer or to emit any other color, making it potentially useful for billboard lighting and other displays. Its form factor is even customizable--it can be molded into bulbs with Edison connections to fit existing fixtures, but also into large sheets or panels that could fit into ceiling tiles or wall spaces to provide lighting that is unobtrusively embedded in the spaces around us.
Perhaps best of all, FIPEL technology has been around for quite a while and is already well-understood, meaning two things: Firstly, we know the technology is long-lasting (one of the researchers has had a prototype FIPEL light source that he claims has worked for a decade), and secondly we already know how to produce it. This kind of FIPEL lighting could be on the consumer market as early as next year.
I dislike yellow fluorescent Lights, being as that i sit in a classroom all day
Install a simply electronic filament and omit the exterior of a bulb or the complicated supportive electronics of an LED. This article reads pretty well. I like to see this get develop further.
The more alternatives the better so i which them luck.
But: "bluish tinge from LEDs" really are you kidding guys? My house if filled with LED and i don`t have any bluish tinge. That`s a lie to sell this product and anyone who owns modern LED will know this.
My Philips LED i got here near my PC gives the perfect white light exactly how i love it. And using half of the energy of the old CFL's. Shop around, try 1 or 2 and you will find your perfect LED.
So using half the power just like this proclaimed light. And having an extreme life cycle just like this proclaimed light. On top of that no danger if the LED brakes. And on top of that LED also is ON immediately, not taking time to warm up like CFL to give it`s full light. Nothing about charging time in this article so who knows.
Everyone is starting to switch to LED these days. They have many different versions. Talk about bluish tinge is insulting old nonsense. But it doesn`t really matter.
They will not sell anything in massive quantities if the quality and the price isn`t right. Since you need mass factories to produce these lights to compete with modern LED`s and since it clearly has no advantage over LED mentioned in this article (perhaps that`s why it never took off and is in no shop for sale) i don`t see them taking off any day soon now.
And since it already exists for some time and since it never joined the new LED/CFL light revolutions i expect a lot of issues with it.
But once more: I wish them well. More alternatives especially once that can be shaped into different forms are a nice bonus.
I think the article missed some chief points that @robot and @Greenmatrix are pointing out. I like the idea of a light as efficient and long lasting as LEDs without the complexity of the electronic components (no doubt a huge factor in the much higher price.) I'd like to know a little about the price potential as well as the "instant on" capacity - it it can compete with LEDs on those points as well as the light quality, I foresee a major market competitor.
This is an article from Cree in april of this year.
"Cree reports that the LED efficacy was measured at 254 lumens per watt, at a correlated color temperature of 4408 K.
I would like to see what the lumen efficiancy is for this other technology but I'm sure it not even close and leds from cree can come in any color range you would want. The other big thing that leds have over CFLs that has been missed is LEDs are dimmable.
Why all the hostility? Seems like some people got on the LED train and are now all defensive when a potential competitor comes into view. That's just life in the technology fast lane, folks. You don't need to spread misinformation to somehow save your tech ego.
Cree - Yeah, that's nice they did that in a lab, but go look at all the products on their site and they still just sell things that are 50-90 lumens per watt. And only some of the LEDs are dimmable, not all. So far they're not selling anything that uses substantially less power than a CFL, and it still costs many times more.
Price is the huge hangup in adopting LEDs. LED lighting has made almost no progress in commercial, exactly for that reason. Homes going from incandescent to LED is one thing, but imagine having a huge building already with long fluorescent lighting and then spending an extra million bucks to "upgrade" to LED lighting while consuming the same power. Commercial buildings don't care about dimmable, they don't care as much about a 30 year life (it will probably be changed and remodeled by then, or sold to someone else), they care about up front cost, and 5-year cost. Until LEDs can compete on that, they have no hope against florescent or something new like this new tech.
For my home, at home depot, I still have to spend $20 a bulb minimum for an LED bulb, a crappy one at that. It outputs 61 lumens per watt, has a 5-year warranty, and is too big to fit in some of my fixtures. Or, I could get a CFL that does fit, outputs 64 lumens per watt, has a 9-year warranty, and only costs me $1.25 each. Why in the world would I spend 16 times more for a bulb that has a shorter warranty, is less power efficient, and might not fit? I wouldn't!
That, my friends, is the problem with real life LEDs. So if another tech can come out that is better, why not cheer them on too? The more technologies and companies have to compete, the better our products will get. Cheer them all on!
The FIPEL technology is currently under an exclusive world-wide license by CeeLite Technologies, LLC. CeeLite sponsored the research and developed the technology at WFU. CeeLite and Wake Forest are working together to begin production early next year. For business inquiries please email David Sutton, management consultant for CeeLite Technologies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Led's still are awful. They have an annoying flicker to them.
I still prefer Cold Cathode CFL's. They still outperform leds in luemens per watts.
key word for me was "customizable". sure u could go with standard shapes but why stop there? lights in the shape of logos and icons would make this a big seller. plus light up ceiling tiles that last a decade would be in every school in the country.
Every advantage they mention with the new FIPEL lights is already easily achievable by LED's. Their claim that LED's use half the energy of CFL's is false when you look at commercially available products, (LED's are slightly more efficient, but not that much yet). I'd like to know the Color temperature of this "soft white light" that our eyes supposedly crave. The color rendering index is also important but a full breakdown of spectral breakdown would give a more accurate showing of color output.
Don't get me wrong I like the idea of competition as it can be a great lead toward innovation but this article is poorly written from a technical standpoint.
If these lights are powered via 12, 24 or 36vDC, they would work natural with solar cells. This is awesome technology! I really like to see it develop further! KUDOS!
There seems to be some missing and misleading information in this article, and more in the comments.
-Fluorescent and LED lamps have a range of color temperature options, if you don't like the yellow tinge they are producing, then check the color when you purchase them.
-Humming fluorescent lights are using old technology, magnetic ballasts. Electronic ballasts don't have this issue.
-LEDs and CFLs are available in dimmable and nondimmable options, and have color selection, some manufacturers more than others.
-Comparing a technology on how long ago it was discovered to how useful it is today, is not always the best way to compare. Induction is OLD, but has been updated and has it's place in the lighting market.
-Jefro, not attacking you personally, but what cheap LEDs are you looking at that flicker, and are out performed by cold cathode? The most expensive fluorescent option WILL out perform the cheapest LED.
-marcoreid, what brands are you talking about in your comparison of LED vs CFL? And yes, $20 is a cheap LED. I am sure you would't want to shell out the cost for the LEDs that exceed 200 LPW. Most people don't have the money to buy the best technology available for anything. My company has had way more success selling LED in commercial applications than to cheap home owners. Residential applications would have an average of 3-5 hours per day of usage, versus commercial and industrial buildings that are using lights 9-16 hours in a day. The payback for a buisness owner is closer to 5 years, for energy savings. Any person or business that looks at only upfront cost of any system, or only looks 5 year down the road, is not doing themselves any favors. There are commerical applications for dimming, so I don't know what you are refering to with this comment. (Please note I mean NO hostility towards you, so don't take any of this as such.)
-Twis523 I agree that I would like to see more techincal information on this. I am sure it'll be available in the future.
Most people are pretty ignorant of ligting in general. There is more to it that most people care to look into. There is no perfect lighting source that will fit every application, or be the best retrofit for every building. All factors of the lighting source need to be taken into consideration before purchasing it, as they all have pros and cons. I look forward to what Cree will do with this technology, and the options it will open up.
A lot of talk here extolling the virtues of L.E.D. lighting. Before anyone gets carried away with making the move to L.E.D., keep in mind the following caveats:
while L.E.D.s are indeed efficient, the quality of light they produce does not approach that of incandescent bulbs.
Besides efficacy, lamps are rated by color temperature and CRI--"color rendering index". Color temperature is indeed an important descriptive measure of light quality, but it is the C.R.I. rating which is a better indicator of light quality.
CRI assigns light sources a number from 0-100, with higher numbers indicating higher quality light. The basis for the number is the continuity of color spectrum that the light source produces. Lamps with a CRI of 100 emit all wavelengths of light, which is subjectively judged by most people to be pleasing to the eyes. Light sources that are missing certain wavelengths of light in their output spectrum (i.e., L.E.D.'s and CFL's) have lower CRI's, and produce a light that is subjectively of lower quality, to most eyes.
Incandescent lamps have CRI's of 97-100, regardless of their color temperature rating. This is why most people prefer the quality of their light output.
Fluorescent and L.E.D. lighting produce lower CRI's than this, sometimes much lower. While some very blue (high color temp. 5500K +) fluorescent lamps have high CRI--up to 95 or even 96, but the very blue light is annoying to many, and implicated in retinal damage when used in office lighting. (sorry, no link). Typical fluorescent tubes are in the 70's and 80's, producing the "yellow" (actually, they are pretty green) look that so many find unpleasant. Almost all CFL's have CRI's in the 70's--not a good look.
L.E.D. lighting has come a long way in the last few years, I admit, although they are only bearable as an indirect lighting application, IMHO. Modules are available (at a very steep cost) that have CRI's of 90, a full 20 points higher than just five or six years ago. They may continue to improve.They still look pretty ghastly in flush cans, or other direct applications, though.
The big problem with LED's though, besides their high initial cost, is maintenance issues with the D.C. drivers that they require. While the actual L.E.D. light source may have a service life of 50.000 hours, the driver has no service rating whatsoever, and in my experience these expensive components (expensive to purchase AND to install) fail at a depressing rate, often soon after installation.
CFL's are nifty, but as the author notes, are a potential environmental hazard because they contain mercury.
The FIPEL technology, on the other hand produces light by an incandescent means, and therefore will produce a light source with a continuous spectrum and commensurate high CRI. They require no special power supply, and as such can theoretically be simply screwed into the Edison bases of our old school incandescent fixtures. As far as I know, they contain no toxic substances, and their production does not create ominous toxic byproducts, again, as far as I know.
If their eventual cost on the market can match CFL's then they will almost certainly eclipse all other forms of high efficacy lighting. So my best recommendation is to stay away from LED.
I think FIPEL has a broad future as it is a part of EL , if you don't understand you may take a look at this website http://www.i-unique.com/ . so many applications you can find there . it has huge market.
What is most important is the quality of the light produced. It would be appropriate to see a spectrum of FIPEL's emitted light in order to define the quality.
The best light is from the sun. Acceptable light can be gotten from both incandescent sources and LED sources. Light from fluorescent sources average out O.K., but the energy spikes in fluorescence sources are "killers"; if you doubt that, use only fluorescence lighting for an aquarium and watch the fish go belly-up within a couple of weeks.
My guess is that the FIPEL lights will be good, but let's see a typical spectrum.