Efficient, flexible lights may replace fluorescent

Efficient, flexible lights may replace fluorescent

By David Self Newlin | Posted - Dec. 25, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.



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WINSTON-SALEM — FIPEL just might become an acronym you hear more and more frequently as you redecorate your home or replace those antiquated fluorescent light bulbs. Field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology seems like a perfect candidate to take over the lighting industry.

Why? Because it seems the possibilities are endless. It can be molded into virtually any shepe, from a tube, to a point to an entire wall. It takes up about the same amount of energy as an LED, but puts out as much light as a fluorescent. It doesn't hum like a fluorescent, and it puts out light similar in color to the Sun's rather than the bluish light of LEDs.

They're also shatterproof and last for 20,000 to 50,000 hours.


FIPEL works by combining layers of an iridium-containing plastic that have been mixed with carbon nanotubes.

"People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their eyes, and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk underneath them," said David Carroll, lead researchers on FIPEL technology at Wake Forest University. "The new lights we have created can cure both of those problems and more."

FIPEL works by combining layers of an iridium-containing plastic that have been mixed with carbon nanotubes. When you pass an alternating current through then, they glow.

The technology has been around for at least a decade, since Carroll claims to have one that has worked for that long. But only recently has FIPEL begun to be developed commercially. Wake Forest University is working with a company right now and plans to have the light bulbs in production by some time in 2013.

There is still no word on the price, however.

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David Self Newlin

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