Light-emitting diodes could bring about an illuminating revolution

December 19th, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): A new research has suggested that a new generation of lighting devices based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will supplant the common light bulb in coming years, which would prove to be a revolution in the way we illuminate our world.

In addition to the environmental and cost benefits of LEDs, the technology is expected to enable a wide range of advances in areas as diverse as healthcare, transportation systems, digital displays, and computer networking.

What the transistor meant to the development of electronics, the LED means to the field of photonics. This core device has the potential to revolutionize how we use light, according to co-authors E. Fred Schubert and Jong Kyu Kim.

Researchers are able to control every aspect of light generated by LEDs, allowing the light sources to be tweaked and optimized for nearly any situation, they added.

In general, LEDs will require 20 times less power than todays conventional light bulbs, and five times less power than green compact fluorescent bulbs.

If all of the worlds light bulbs were replaced with LEDs for a period of 10 years, Schubert and Kim estimate the following benefits would be realized:

Total energy consumption would be reduced by 1,929.84 joules, electrical energy consumption would be reduced by terawatt hours, there would be financial savings of 1.83 trillion dollars, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would be reduced by 10.68 gigatons, crude oil consumption would be reduced by 962 million barrels, and, the number of required global power plants would be reduced by 280.

With all of the promise and potential of LEDs, Schubert and Kim said it is important not to pigeonhole or dismiss smart lighting technology as a mere replacement for conventional light bulbs.

Deployed on a large scale, LEDs have the potential to tremendously reduce pollution, save energy, save financial resources, and add new and unprecedented functionalities to photonic devices, said the researchers.

These factors make photonics what could be termed a benevolent tsunami, an irresistible wave, a solution to many global challenges currently faced by humanity and will be facing even more in the years to come, they added.

Transcending the replacement paradigm will open up a new chapter in photonics: Smart lighting sources that are controllable, tunable, intelligent, and communicative, they further added.

Possible smart lighting applications include rapid biological cell identification, interactive roadways, boosting plant growth, and better supporting human circadian rhythms to reduce an individuals dependency on sleep-inducing drugs or reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. (ANI)

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