Since 2000, a Silicon Valley company called Luxim has been working on a new kind of light bulb. It's very similar to technology being developed by Ceravision right now and, so far, it doesn't even have a name.
But here's the basics of how they work: A bulb of gas nests inside donut of metal, then, a high intensity electric field is created in the donut hole. The result is that the gas inside the bulb becomes a plasma. And if it's the right kind of gas, a huge amount of light is produced.
ZDNet went to visit Luxim's headquarters to see their new street lamp assemblies. The devices are about ten times more efficient than traditional incandescent lamps, and twice as efficient as CFLs. However, their talk of efficiency is a bit sensationalist. ZDNet makes it sound like this is the most efficient bulb out there. Actually, the Luxim bulbs are roughly the same efficiency as high pressure sodium lamps (the yellow-tinged ones that are often used for streetlights.) The big advantage here is that they produce a more natural spectrum of light, which can increase safety.
It also means that Luxim bulbs could find their way into indoor lighting, something that's not possible with high-pressure sodium's ugly yellow light. But it's going to be a race between this new technology and white LEDs to see who can get cheap, highly-efficient lights to produce attractive white light in a light-bulb sized package first.
written by Rudy, April 18, 2008
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