updated 03:20 pm EST, Mon December 3, 2012
Fipel bulbs could be produced within the next year
US researchers have claimed to create a new light bulb made of plastic to replace the relatively new LED bulbs. Designed to replace fluorescent bulbs seen in large-scale lighting systems such as within office complexes, the new bulbs use multiple layers of plastic to generate a flicker-free light that is more "natural" than the blue-tinted fluorescent bulbs, potentially saving users from light-induced headaches.
The team at Wake Forest University, NC, used the field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology (Fipel) to create the bulb, the process itself using nanomaterials sandwiched between polymer layers to create a glow, according to the BBC.
While LED bulbs are slowly becoming more popular, to the level that Ikea is switching to sell them instead of incandescent bulbs or halogen lights, both LEDs and OLEDs are claimed to be limited in terms of how much brightness you can get from them before melting. The Fipel technology also mimics the OLED's ability to be shaped, which could allow the technology to shift into monitors and mobile phones in the future.
"What we've found is a way of creating light rather than heat," said Professor David Carroll of the WFU team, continuing "Our devices contain no mercury, they contain no caustic chemicals, and they don't break as they are not made of glass." The team claims the bulb is relatively cheap to manufacture, and has gained the interest of a "corporate partner," which could lead to the first Fipel-based light bulbs being produced in the next year.