Shedding Light on the Subject
Back in the day, electric lighting was limited to three major types: incandescent, neon and fluorescent. Neon lights were designated for entertainment, advertising and play. They were meant more to draw attention than to shed illumination. The real lighting workhorses were the good old fashioned light bulb with its tungsten filament and the long, narrow fluorescent lights with their ghostly white-bright glow.
Today, lighting is about more than illumination. Energy efficiency has become more prominent as individuals, commerce and industry become more conscious of their carbon footprints. Today, compact fluorescent bulbs – CFLs – are a commonplace sight. However, even more innovative and energy lighting is presently under development.
Light Emitting Diodes
Along with CFLs, light emitting diodes – LEDs – have also gained a tremendous amount of traction in the American market. LEDs have been in existence in a practically usable form since 1962, but have only gained general usage in the last decade or so, LEDs work on a simple principle – when a device that employs LEDs is switched on, electrons combine with holes incorporated into the device to produce photons. This process is known as electroluminescence and the color of the light that is emitted is determined by the nature of energy gaps in the semiconductor within the device that utilizes the LED.
One area where LEDs have become especially prominent is in automobile lighting. Specifically, conventional headlights and tail lights are increasingly being replaced by compact, efficient, and yet powerful LEDs. LEDs are also being incorporated into aviation lighting, advertising and digital microscopes. While LEDs are more energy efficient and have a longer life than incandescent bulbs, they emit more heat than fluorescent lighting when used for room lighting purposes.
Organic Light Emitting Diodes
Organic Light Emitting Diodes – OLEDs, replace the electroluminescent layer with a thin film of organic compounds which is situated between two electrodes. Otherwise, OLEDs work much the same way as conventional LEDs. The two major type of OLEDs: those that rely on small molecules and OLEDs that utilize polymers. OLED display schemes are either passive-matrix or active-matrix in nature. Active-matrix OLEDs incorporate thin-film transistor backplane to control individual pixels.
OLEDs can be found in digital displays within common household electronics such as television screens, computer monitors, handheld game consoles and even your mobile phones. Research is presently underway to develop white OLED devices to be used within solid-state lighting. Because OLED displays work without backlights, they can display deep black levels and higher contrast levels in dark rooms, while remaining thinner and lighter than liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that utilize either LED backlights or cathode fluorescent lamps.
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon that manifests itself as graphite arranged into a honeycomb pattern one atom thick. Research leading to the development of Graphene resulted in the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester. This super light material is flexible, and yet stronger than steel. As a source of light, it can potentially be used in applications that demand both flexibility and strength without excess weight.
Daniel Flynn is a lighting expert. He loves to write about lighting on home design blogs. To compare electric suppliers, visit the www.energyproviderstexas.com website.