LED lighting may soon be available for mainstream use

Posted by Samantha Rose

Chicago (IL) - A major issue of reducing the cost of “solid state lighting” has recently been overcome by researchers at Purdue University. A new silicon-based production technology could help to reduce the electricity consumption by 10% if it were to be widely adopted and utilized.

The drawback to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that are currently available for purchase is their cost: They are expensive mainly because they are created on a substrate of sapphire. The researchers at Purdue claim to have solved this issue by developing a method of creating LEDs on low-cost, metal-coated silicon wafers.
 
LEDs are estimated to be four times as efficient as your conventional incandescent lights. They are also claimed to be more economically sound than compact fluorescent bulbs that contain harmful mercury and are supposed to last a lot longer than your conventional lighting - with estimates putting the devices at a 15 year lifespan.

"The LED technology has the potential of replacing all incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, which would have dramatic energy and environmental ramifications," said Timothy Sands, professor at Purdue.

LEDs that have been designed to emit white light are key to solid-state lighting, semiconducting devices made of layers of materials that allow light to shine through when electricity is applied to them. Conventional lighting generates light using hot metal filaments or glowing glasses that have been placed inside glass tubes.

In the past, the use of LEDs has been limited to items such as indicator lamps in toys and electronics, but recent advances in LED technology has made it possible for them to shine as brightly as incandescent bulbs.