Scientists Strive to Make LEDs Even BETTER!
LED Lighting is already a lot longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than any of its predecessors. However, scientists still believe there’s room for improvement in the composition of the bulbs themselves. Read our LED Monkey blog to find out about the quest to make the almost perfect…perfect!
As you'll see from the infographic, LEDs offer massive advantages over its halogen and incandescent counterparts. They currently outlast them by years! They consume just 10% of their power to generate the same number of lumens.
Despite the gargantuan benefits that already exist in switching to LED light sources, researchers are continuing their quest to discover still more efficient materials from which to make them.
The Hunt for New Materials
Indeed, Jakoah Brgoch (pictured) is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Houston in Texas. He's received a huge $656,000, 5-year career award to help him uncover more efficient materials like phosphor and gallium nitride! These efficient materials might improve LEDs’ performance to an even greater extent.
Along with machine learning and prediction, Brgoch's lab works to synthesise new compounds and to find new, more energy-efficient materials. Brgoch now aims to use machine learning and data-enabled algorithms to identify new materials. These new materials could be used in LED lighting systems, as well as working out how temperature fluctuations might affect the function of these materials and identify others that would be less susceptible.
LED light bulbs are also known as “Solid-State Lighting”. This is because they're composed of solid materials as opposed to filaments and tubes.
Having this type of composition, LEDs are far less vulnerable to breakage. This also means they produce a lot less heat than their incandescent predecessors.
The heat produced by the older type of light bulb isn’t a huge issue in people’s homes (other than being incredibly wasteful and destructive to the bulb itself). However, it does present significant problems in commercial and industrial settings like car headlight production and stadium illumination.
As LEDs begin to shine more brightly, they also tend to become slightly warmer. For example, when they are used in a vehicle's headlights. This adversely affects the phosphor’s properties and can cause the lights to run less efficiently.
Speaking about this phenomenon and of a way to combat it, Ram Seshadri (pictured right), one of Brgoch’s research colleagues said:
“So far, there has been no complete understanding of what make some phosphors efficient and others not. In the wrong hosts, some of the photons are wasted as heat, and an important question is: How do we select the right hosts?”
“Very few phosphor materials retain their efficiency at elevated temperatures,” stated Brgoch, adding:
“There is little understanding of how to choose the host structure for a given activator ion such that the phosphor is efficient, and such that the phosphor efficiency is retained at elevated temperatures.”
Heat is an extremely wasteful and destructive by-product of any light-generating process, and the less a light source produces, the more efficiently it performs.
LEDs emit a great deal less heat and therefore last a lot longer than their more traditional incandescent counterparts. This is due to the way they produce light and also because their method of heat dispersal is a great deal more effective.
Let's Turn Down the Heat
Take a look at the image below and you'll see that a great deal of the mass of an LED light bulb is taken up by what's known as a "heat sink". Usually manufactured using aluminium, the LED's heat sink directs the small amount of heat the LED does produce safely away from its internal circuitry, thereby allowing the bulb to live a long and productive life.
Brgoch’s project will begin to ascertain how a material's structure changes when light is absorbed and its temperature increases.
Thereafter, it will address ways of minimising the changes, either by the modification and optimisation of existing materials or via the formulation of totally new ones.
LEDs are Getting Better and Better!
It’s great to know that, despite the massive improvements to LED lighting technology that have occurred recently, research is still being carried out which seeks to make it even better.
The increasing use of LED lighting in UK homes has recently been linked to a significant reduction in the demand for energy. Improvements to the technology’s efficiency can only be good news for the environment and for consumers’ pockets.
Hopefully, as the technology continues to improve, more and more people will be convinced to switch! We believe that switching over to LED light sources is the best thing for them…AND for the planet.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, and we’d love to read your comments.
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