An Enticing New Alternative To Fluorescents, CFLs, and LEDs

No light source is perfect. With every different light source come consumers and critics who dislike it. We complain incandescent lights don’t last long enough. They use too much energy, give off too much heat, and then that heat jacks up our A/C bills.

Fluorescents and CFLs last longer, but some people are bothered by the small amount of UV rays they emit. Sometimes they might flicker or take a while to reach full brightness. If they break, they release harmful mercury into the environment.

Even the LED, the lighting industry’s golden boy, isn’t perfect. It lacks the incandescent’s beautiful, soothing light quality. LEDs are still expensive, and it can be hard as heck to make them with dimming capabilities.

Clearly, we still have work to do. But now, there’s a new light source that might just give these other guys a run for their money.

It’s called FIPEL. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Well, whatever the name, this new light source could be the answer to the comfortable, efficient light we crave.

Image via Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University Photographer

Researchers led by Dr. David Carroll at Wake Forest University have created this new light source based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology. This technology has been around for a while, but the research team has taken recent steps to making it more commercially viable.

Here’s how FIPEL technology works: To generate light, the team uses a multi-layer white-emitting blend of polymers combined with a small amount of nanomaterials that glow when stimulated with electrical charge. This is an entirely new way to create light, different from filament lamps, fluorescent lights, and LEDs.

The light FIPEL generates is bright and natural-looking, similar to the sunlight our eyes prefer.

And, the benefits don’t stop there! These new lights can be at least twice as efficient as CFLs, and don’t contain harmful materials like mercury. A FIPEL light would be roughly as efficient as an LED, only with a better quality light.

The light emitted by FIPEL technology is easy to customize, it can emit white or any other color, which makes it great to light bedrooms and billboards alike.

FIPEL technology can be molded to fit into old-school Edison light sockets, or shaped into sheets and panels to fit into ceiling tiles, walls, or embedded in almost anything!

More good news: since this technology has been around for a while, we know it’s long-lasting, and we know how to produce it.

Dr. Carroll is working with manufacturers to get FIPEL technology ready for consumer use as early as 2013!

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.