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US$3 LED light bulb lasts 60 years, could end battle of the bulbs

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February 1, 2009

The 'holy grail' of lighting

The 'holy grail' of lighting

February 2, 2009 Cambridge University researchers have developed cheap, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that produce brilliant light but use very little electricity. They will cost just GBP2 (USD2.80) and last up to 60 years. The gallium nitride based bulbs are 12 times more efficient than conventional tungsten incandescent bulbs and three times more efficient than compact fluorescent low-energy bulbs. As well as lasting 100,000 hours, ten times as long as today's eco-bulbs, the LED bulbs do not contain mercury, so disposal is less damaging to the environment, they do not flicker and fully illuminate instantly, unlike the current generation of eco-bulbs.

The 100,000 hour LEDs use gallium nitride, a man-made semiconductor used to make light-emitting diodes. LEDs are currently available as replacement bulbs but they cost $25 - $50 each which makes them too expensive for widespread use. To achieve the price break through the Cambridge scientists have developed a process where they grow Gallium Nitride on silicon wafers instead of the current method, which requires sapphire wafers.

The 10-fold price reduction could slash household lighting bills by three-quarters. A manufacturer has begun work on production prototypes and the first bulbs could be in the shops within two years. The head of the Centre for Gallium Nitride, Professor Colin Humphreys, said: "This could well be the holy grail in terms of providing our lighting needs for the future."

"We are very close to achieving highly efficient, low-cost white LEDs. It is our belief they will render current energy-efficiency bulbs redundant."

Paul Evans

Via: University of Cambridge (Cambridge News Online), Daily Mail.

10 Comments

This is very cool.

Glenn Wuenstel
2nd February, 2009 @ 11:44 am PST

the future is looking bright!

James Turner
2nd February, 2009 @ 12:15 pm PST

This is the type of thinking that excites me about the future. Thanks for the great articles.

Abandonvehicle
4th February, 2009 @ 01:42 pm PST

I've paid more for compact fluorescents. If they can bring these to market at 3 dollars, I'll instantly replace every bulb in my home.

Gadgeteer
4th February, 2009 @ 10:34 pm PST

I can't wait, but I doubt it will cost $3 at first. My guess is that the demand will far outweigh supply to start, then it will fall and eventually level off.

DanLightning
24th February, 2009 @ 03:55 am PST

Very useful to conserve power. Cost should be reduced so that developing countries can afford.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
7th April, 2010 @ 07:05 am PDT

which will come first into the market - LEDs made from gallium nitride, or Organic LEDs?

glassfiberoptics
28th October, 2011 @ 10:23 am PDT

2013.... what happened to this tech?

Racqia Dvorak
14th June, 2013 @ 05:42 pm PDT

They are surrounding us, but not so cheap as promised. Still, sapphire wafer is in use. The cheapest LED's on market now are around 15$ at 45W at 3500 lumens, but is only the chip, an LED array quite impressive, yes, with good efficacy, but still need a special power supply and a heatsink and a fan to work properly - this rise the price to probably 35-40$ a luminaire. Search for Cree CXA2011; Bridgelux; others as well...

Addy
17th June, 2013 @ 01:40 pm PDT

This article was written in 2009, its now 2013 ... 4 years later and its still not available ? Where's the tech at ?

Bmak1225
1st July, 2013 @ 01:30 am PDT
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