Light recycle process could make incandescent light bulb reabsorb waste heat and convert it into visible light that is desired.
Traditional light bulbs are no longer used in many parts of the world since they waste a lot of energy and are less efficient than fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). Light bulbs with warm yellow glow convert 95% of consumed energy into heat rather than light.
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But these traditional light bulbs or incandescent light bulbs could make a comeback thanks to a technological breakthrough.
Researchers from MIT and Purdue University have found a new way to solve the problem. They have developed a light recycling process to make conventional light bulbs more energy efficient.
Light recycling is a two stage process. The first stage involves a conventional heated metal filament but the remarkable thing about this conductive wire is that it does not allow waste heat in the form of infrared radiation instead the secondary structure surrounding the filament captures the radiation and sent it back to filament to reabsorb and re-emit in the form of light.
The secondary structure is the major difference in creating a light bulb which use less energy and produce more light. The new incandescent light bulbs with two-stage technology can reach 40% efficiency compared to just 3% of old-fashioned bulbs.
The structures are a form of photonic crystal that are made of earth-abundant elements and work for a very wide range of wavelengths and angles. The material takes in unwanted, useless wavelengths of energy and converts them into the visible light wavelengths.
Though researchers have not been able to reach that desired level yet but primarily results are promising and even matching the efficiency of some of today’s CFLs and LEDs.
“It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted.” Marin Solijacic professor of physics said.
The finding could lead to more improved light bulbs with familiar soft yellowish glow and could replace CFLs and LEDs with harder and colder light in future.
“The results are quite impressive, demonstrating luminosity and power efficiencies that rival those of conventional sources including fluorescent and LED bulbs,” said Alejandro Rodriguez, assistant professor from Princeton University, who was not involved in this work.
It “provides further evidence that application of novel photonic designs to old problems can lead to potentially new devices. I believe that this work will reinvigorate and set the stage for further studies of incandescence emitters, paving the way for the future design of commercially scalable structures.”