According to an article in the latest special issue on UK energy, a revolution in the field of energy efficient, environmentally friendly and extremely flexible lighting is about to take off. ;arrive Optics Express, Open Access Journal of the Optical Society (OSA).
The paper discusses the future of lighting – a future characterized by the widespread use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which offer a number of obvious and subtle advantages over conventional light bulbs.
"We are on the eve of a revolution," said the paper's leading author, E. Fred Schubert, professor of electrical engineering and physics at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. . "LED lighting offers tremendous opportunities."
LEDs are more robust and look more like a hard plastic than a thin glass. They are also more environmentally friendly because their manufacture does not require toxic substances such as mercury.
As an alternative to the traditional incandescent bulb, LED lamps allow considerable energy savings. They can be 2000% more efficient than conventional bulbs and 500% more efficient than compact fluorescent bulbs. Schubert predicts that a widespread use of light-emitting diodes over the next 10 years would save more than $ 1 trillion in energy costs, would eliminate the need for nearly one billion people. barrels of oil over 10 years and would result in a substantial reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.
All of these advantages make LEDs a good alternative light source, says Schubert, adding that this is why the LED industry has expanded considerably recently, with double-digit growth. However, he adds, the real potential of LED lighting lies in its ability to transform, rather than just replace, lighting technology.
"The replacement is correct," says Schubert. "But we have to look beyond the replacement paradigm to see the real benefits of LED lamps." Schubert is considering a day when light switches will give way to light control panels that control not only the brightness of a light, but also its color temperature and hue. The light spectra can be customized for all wavelengths, precisely adapting the qualities of sunlight and varying these characteristics according to the time, for example. This could revolutionize inland agriculture and help night workers and people in jet lag. The use of polarized LED light could also improve the computer screen and reduce the glare of car headlights.
In his article, Schubert explains how such a future, "smart" light sources, can exploit the huge potential of LEDs.
The green lights (and blue, red and white) of the future
Jong Kyu Kim et al. Transcend the paradigm of replacing semiconductor lighting, Optics Express (2008). DOI: 10.1364 / OE.16.021835