Materials & Assembly
Plastic Makes a Better Light Bulb

Wake Forest University scientists have devised a shatterproof, white light, flicker-free lighting device based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology.   (Source: Wake Forest University)
Wake Forest University scientists have devised a shatterproof, white light, flicker-free lighting device based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology.
(Source: Wake Forest University)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Electroluminescence
Ann R. Thryft   1/8/2013 11:24:37 AM
Maybe we're all used to Silicon Valley-style announcements of new technology for sale right now in high volumes, and not of the long R&D cycle behind that technology. In materials technology, especially energy-related, development can take a long time. Thanks, William, for finding those cost figures. The main researcher has had a single working device for a long time--but not a bulb, and, presumably, a very expensive device, and, I'd guess, one he's been tinkering with as a prototype.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Seems like a no-brainer
Nancy Golden   1/8/2013 10:14:21 AM
I agree - the first question that popped into my head was why such a long time to market? I absolutely love the idea of unbreakable bulbs and hope this technology takes off. I think you have a great idea, Elizabeth - recycled plastics would go a long way in making them even more eco-friendly. Flicker-free is another plus - sounds like a winner if its cost-effective.

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Re: Electroluminescence
naperlou   1/8/2013 10:10:17 AM
William, this is often the case with university developed research.  Universities are often very poor at getting inventions out into the real world. 

Elizabeth M
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Seems like a no-brainer
Elizabeth M   1/8/2013 9:01:17 AM
Interesting technology that solves the problem of the fragility of lightbulbs, but like the other commenter I am surprised this hasn't been brought to light (no pun intended) sooner if the technology has been around so long. I'm not a massive fan of plastic, though, but it does sound like a more eco-friendly design with the elimination of mercury and the reduced production costs. Perhaps recycled plastic could even be used in mass production down the line?

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williamlweaver   1/8/2013 8:03:04 AM
Thanks, Ann for this awesome news and the free PDF. I'm amused / frustrated / encouraged that Professor Carroll has had an operating device for the past 10 years and we haven't seen faster commercialization of the FIPEL technology. A quick search shows the primary ingredient [Ir(pp)3] is fairly expensive in research quantities at $0.91 / milligram while the other components, PVK at $0.03 / mg and MWNT ($0.02 / mg) are relatively inexpensive. The device in this research shows a 500% increase in luminance. We can all hope that additional research will discover additional leaps in efficiency. Commercial availability later this year is fantastic.

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