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A Super-Efficient Light Bulb

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-little-it's-lovely-it-lights dept.

Earth 468

Chroniton writes with news of a Silicon Valley company, Luxim, that has developed a tiny, full-spectrum light bulb, based on a plasma of argon gas, that gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power. The Tic Tac-sized bulb operates at temperatures up to 6000K and produces 140 lumens/watt, almost ten times as efficient as standard incandescent lamps, and twice the efficiency of high-end LEDs. The new bulbs also have a lifetime of 20,000 hours. There's no mention of mercury or other heavy metals, which pose a problem for compact fluorescents.

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468 comments

That's all well and good... (5, Funny)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831874)

but can I use it in a grow-op?

Short answer.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831932)

Yes. And it would be more easily hidden from nasty police helicopters [yahoo.com] and the like, due to the lack of energy wasted in generating heat.

Beware - Parent post links to a virus (4, Informative)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831984)

The "nasty police helicopters" link is no bueno. No clicking!

Re:Beware - Parent post links to a virus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832322)

I bet you posted it yourself, karma whore.

Re:That's all well and good... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831948)

I had similar thought but for fish tanks. This would be wonderful for a panted tank or for reef tanks.

Re:That's all well and good... (0)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832002)

If you are wanting high-tech grow lamps, LEDs are where it's at.

Light pollution (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831876)

gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power.

Great, people lighting their properties with more bright lights is just what we need. Light pollution is already a serious probably (it's destroyed amateur astronmy, see Mizon's Light Pollution [amazon.com] ). Instead of showing people how they can make do with less lights, we're just making it cheaper for private individuals to duplicate the Las Vegas strip.

Re:Light pollution (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831904)

Light pollution is already a serious probably ... it's destroyed amateur astronmy

Geez, of course that should read: Light pollution is already a serious problem ... it's destroyed amateur astronomy.

Re:Light pollution (5, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832030)

it also affects drivers, and pilots as well. In some regions airports have pushed for local laws to limit light pollution going up into the sky as it interferes with planes landing. Spot lights can temporary blind drivers causing accidents.

Light pollution isn't so much about astronomy but being able to see when it is dark out, because some idiot is lighting up his yard like fen way park. At night less is more. I can use 5 watt 12 volt bulbs and light up your house better than spotlights. more of the house will be lit with less random dark spaces, and more importantly less shadows in which people can hid.

Re:Light pollution (5, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831994)

gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power.
Great, people lighting their properties with more bright lights is just what we need
I missed the part of TFA that said these bulbs were going to be available at prices low enough for home use.

What makes you think these aren't just going to be used to... replace streetlights? Halving the power usage of streetlights nationwide would reduce atmospheric pollution measurably. If the choice is between light pollution and atmospheric polution... ...light pollution is the more desirable of the two.

Re:Light pollution (5, Informative)

pcruce (1248328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831998)

I agree. The reason it hasn't killed professional ground based astronomy is that it is quite easy to subtract the very focused wavelength of sodium vapor streetlights from an image, as sodium vapor lamps are almost completely monochromatic. If we switched to these full spectrum lamps that would be much more difficult, probably meaning we would only be able to do astronomy in very remote areas or with orbiting observatories. That said, even as strong a proponent of astronomy as I am, the increased efficiency of these lights would probably make it worthwhile...

Re:Light pollution (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832068)

It is also easy to use shields, and angles to limit the amount of light going up, and only light up the areas that you need to. Besides reflects let you use a lower wattage and still light up the same area.

Re:Light pollution (1)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832238)

It's times like these that I wish we'd hurry our dumb asses up and build huge observatories on the dark side of the moon. At least that way we can still get data - though it just isn't the same imagining an Earth where you can't go outside with binoculars to do some stargazing because everyone has 2000 lumen bulbs in every socket of their residence.

Re:Light pollution (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832314)

It's times like these that I wish we'd hurry our dumb asses up and build huge observatories on the dark side of the moon.

The only "Dark Side of the Moon" I know of is from Pink Floyd. How do you plan to fit a huge observatory on a cd?

Re:Light pollution (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832046)

Switch streetlights to a 33% duty cycle with pseudo-random (or really random) timing and instantly reduce power use for street lighting by 66% AND allow people to actually see those mysterious lights in the sky the old Greek dudes were talking about. As a side benefit, studies have shown that crime actually goes DOWN when lights come on at random rather than staying on all the time.

Crime goes DOWN... (1)

Off the Rails (974457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832176)

...but do road accidents go UP?

Re:Light pollution (1)

willy_me (212994) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832226)

But those low pressure sodium lights don't turn on and off instantly. It can take several minutes depending on the temperature. And when in the process of turning on, the efficiency sucks. They are really designed to be turned on and then left on.

If a different form of lighting were used (like LED) then your suggestion would be worth consideration. But such a suggestion would currently require that all street lighting be replaced with an alternative that can quickly turn on/off.

Re:Light pollution (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832286)

If they could get street lights that can turn on and off quickly, then it might be possible to add a noise or motion sensor so that a strip of street lights turn on automatically when needed.

Re:Light pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832058)

Hopefully the global economy collapses and finally ends the great suburban sprawl juggernaut. At this point that is what it will take to return the night sky.

Re:Light pollution (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832206)

quick stop working on that cure to cancer, light pollution is SERIOUS, man

Re:Light pollution (1)

Viadd (173388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832246)

quick stop working on that cure to cancer, light pollution is SERIOUS, man

LIght pollution causes cancer. Tests have shown it causes cancer in laboratory rats (...but everything causes cancer in laboratory rats). Epidemiological studies have shown that it causes breast cancer in women.

It also has harmful ecological effects, primarily among plants and animals that have mating cycles tied to the phases of the Moon. But also other effects such as insects being eaten by birds that can see them at night (bad for the insects, good for the birds, bad for the bats that no longer have insects to eat because the bats got them.)

Re:Light pollution (1, Offtopic)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832290)

OMFG, are you kidding me? Most things are less important than cancer research, but if everyone subscribed to your line of thinking, no one would be solving ANY other problems... there'd be no more cancer, but everything else would suck. Do you really think that is a good idea? Besides, people working to reduce light pollution likely don't have the skills to cure cancer (biology, chemistry), so your point doesn't even make sense. I know you were just joking, but if you're going to make fun of people, you might try to avoid sounding like an idiot in the process, or in the end you'll be the one looking bad, not them. And better yet, why not just stop making fun of people who are trying to make a good point? -Taylor

Re:Light pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832266)

Yea but the more of them you use the more you save.

Commercial use (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831880)

Such high operating temperatures would not be acceptable for domestic use - the risk of fire would simply be too great. But commercial use, specifically for streetlights as the summary mentions, would be ideal. The amount of power consumed by streetlights world-wide must be staggering, so any improvement in efficiency, even in just this single area of light generation, would be substantial.

Re:Commercial use (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831910)

I'm pretty sure 6000K refers to the color temperature, I don't think a streetlight could ever reach 5727 Celsius without frying people around it.

Re:Commercial use (2)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831928)

Additionally, if it really generated that much heat, it couldn't possibly be as efficient as even the worst incandescents.

Re:Commercial use (5, Informative)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831952)

Heat and temperature are not the same thing. If it produces 140 lumens per watt, I believe that makes it something like 50% efficient (which is insanely high for lighting). That means a 100 watt lightbulb of this technology would turn 50 watts or so into heat, and 50 watts or so into light. A 100 watt incandescant is turning 85 watts into heat and 15 watts into light. So even if it runs at a higher temperature, its confined to a very small space.

This isn't dangerous at all.

Re:Commercial use (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832108)

http://news.google.com/news?q=Luxim [google.com]

http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1466/74/ [ecogeek.org]

However, their talk of efficiency is a bit sensationalist. ZDNet makes it sound like this is the most efficient bulb out there. Actually, the Luxim bulbs are roughly the same efficiency as high pressure sodium lamps (the yellow-tinged ones that are often used for streetlights.)

Re:Commercial use (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832138)

Not to mention that halogen bulbs get up to 3000K or more. Why is 6000K too dangerous but 3000K just fine for something you put on your desk?

=Smidge=

Re:Commercial use (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832328)

Not to mention that halogen bulbs get up to 3000K or more. Why is 6000K too dangerous but 3000K just fine for something you put on your desk?

Psst ... halogens can cause fires. Try putting a towel on one of those 300 vatt bulbs for floor lamps and watch how, within seconds, you have a "problem".

Re:Commercial use (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832188)

Not sure about your stats if we look at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Assume the new bulb is 50% efficient at generating light, then a standard incandescent bulb is actually only around 5% efficient. 95% of the energy is converted to heat.

Additionally, the new bulb they've created is actually more like 25% efficient (I know perfect efficiency (683 lumens per watt) is only for green monochromatic light, but even so).

Re:Commercial use (2, Informative)

exploder (196936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831968)

Temperature is not heat. Once you've got a 6000K plasma (probably not all that costly in terms of energy due to low mass), the amount of energy it takes to maintain that temperature can be quite low. I'm sure the mechanism is very well-insulated thermally.

Re:Commercial use (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832012)

Additionally, if it really generated that much heat, it couldn't possibly be as efficient as even the worst incandescents.

To the contrary. The eye's range of sensitivity is tuned to the solar spectrum, emitted at a blackbody temperature just a bit below 6000 K. A bulb is most efficient if it emits light in the spectrum that the eye is sensitive to, and not in, say the infrared spectrum. So a bulb emitting blackbody spectrum becomes more efficient as the emission temperature goes up, and peaks in efficiency at around 6000.

Incandescent bulbs are not inefficient because they are too hot-- they are inefficient because they are not hot enough. They run somewhere about 2500 or 3000, and hence most of the light is emitted in the infrared, not the visible.

Re:Commercial use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832284)

Are you kidding me?! Heat as a problem? It's a matter of perspective! Slightly modify a lamp for structural ability, and BLAMMO! You have a lamp that doubles as a hot plate! Heat water for tea or coffee while you code in hte middle of the night. It's more efficient that using a second device to do the heating!

Re:Commercial use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831990)

I'm pretty sure 6000K refers to the color temperature, I don't think a streetlight could ever reach 5727 Celsius without frying people around it.
It will still fry peoples eyes and skin without a filter. At 6000K it will be putting out a shitload of UV just like the Sun (which also has a surface temperature of about 6000K).

Re:Commercial use (1)

asc99c (938635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832220)

No, it does reach that heat, but in a very small area and doesn't radiate too much heat. Normal incandescents reach about 3000 C and don't fry everyone because only the filament is at that temperature - the glass bulb is hot enough to burn your fingers but nowhere near the temperature of the filament.

Somewhat paradoxically, at a higher temperature, more radiation is of the visible light spectrum and less is waste heat. So these lights will radiate less heat because they are hotter.

Re:Commercial use (4, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832334)

In the video, the inventors mention that the Argon gas at the centre of the bulb (size of a christmas tree bulb) reaches the temperature of the surface of the sun (6000C). Given the small size of the bulb, there is probably a very steep temperature gradient (otherwise the glass tube would melt). But the energy is dissipated by emitting light of all wavelengths, not just in the infra-red region of the spectrum. I'd be worried about getting sunburn or cataracts from something like this.

Re:Commercial use (4, Informative)

exploder (196936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831936)

Temperature isn't the whole story. Regular tungsten-filament incandescent bulbs operate at about 3600K, but it's a tiny filament, and encased in glass, so it's not much of a hazard.

A 6000K plasma may even be safer, depending on the density of the plasma.

Re:Commercial use (3, Informative)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832306)

Um, folks? All this 3000K and 6000K talk does not mean temperature, it's the color of the light. 5000K is white, or at least the color of equitorial sunlight at noon in the equator, 2700k is tellowish soft light, 7500K is the color of noon in Norway.

It's the color of a body of iron at those temperatures in Kelvin. This has nothing to do with the temperature of the bulb, that is a 7500 degree Kelvin 4 foot fluorescent bulb may be 7500K *in color* but it's barely 80 degrees F in operation. Although degrees Kelvin measures heat like Celsius and Farenheight, it also means "color" becaise of the black body of iron thing.

I'm guessing this lamp is hot but it aint in the thousands of degreesm kelvin or otherwise althouhg I'm quite sure it's a 6000K bulk or whatever.

140 lumens per watt is good but not earth shattering - this is what (high pressure) sodium lamps do already - and are the most efficient bulbs mankind makes. So this is as good but no better than the best we have now. What is good about it is it's small, most plasma lamps aren't.

I'd be interested in knowing what happens to the amount of light per watt as the bulb is made smaller and larger.

Sadly TFV did bad^H^H^Hhorrible things to my machine and there was no FA to read but I'm sure if it's really feasable I'll hear about it soon enough. Not like with those sulfur microwave lamps from a few years back that had similar claims.

Re:Commercial use (1)

hardie (716254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831940)

I don't see this as an issue for domestic use. Plain old incandescents have a filament temperature of about half that.
Remember, the temperature is within a small bulb.

COLOR temperature, not thermal temp (2, Informative)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831980)

When they say "6000K temperature" they mean color temperature, not thermal. 6000K color temperature is a match for natural sunlight.

http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com/cri_explained.htm [fullspectr...utions.com]
Provides a table of other light sources for comparison and a bit of discussion about color theory.

Some examples of some common and competitive light sources color temperature and CRI values are:
# Candle: 1700k 100 CRI
# High Pressure Sodium: 2100k 25 CRI
# Incandescent: 2700k 100 CRI
# Tungsten Halogen: 3200k 95 CRI
# *Solux Bulb: 4100k 98 CRI
# Cool White: 4200k 62 CRI
# *Ott-Lite(TM) Pro: 5000k 82 CRI
# Clear Metal Halide: 5500k 60 CRI
# *Verilux® "Natural Spectrum®": 5500k 82 CRI (also called HappyEyes® and Trucolite Phosphor Technology(TM))
# Natural Sunlight: 5000-6000k 100 CRI
# *BlueMax(TM): 5900k 96 CRI
# Daylight Bulb: 6400k 80 CRI
# *Sharper Image Bright as Day(TM) Lamp: 6400k 80 CRI (also called "wide-spectrum","daylight spectrum","natural spectrum")
# *NextTen SunWhite® Lamp: 6400k 82 CRI
# *Bell&Howell Sunlight Lamp: 6500k 80-85 CRI
# *FirstStreet Balanced Spectrum®: 6500k 84 CRI

*=Marketed as a "full spectrum" or similar to sunlight source
but to answer your point, yes a six thousand degree F bulb would be impractical for home use. :)

Re:COLOR temperature, not thermal temp (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832026)

WTFV (watch the .. video). The temperature they're talking about really is 6000K in heat.

As other shave pointed out, this is not too much of a problem for household use as ordinary incandescents reach 3600 at the filament. You just need to encase it in a glass bulb.

Re:COLOR temperature, not thermal temp (5, Informative)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832184)

In light physics, temperature and color temperature are the same thing. Color temperature refers to the temperature at which an ideal black body radiator will emit such a spectrum. This unit is obviously a temperature.

Moreover, this lamp appears to be a high bandwidth lamp -- "full spectrum" as they said. This implies that it does not depend on the absorbsion and emission characteristics of specific atoms. Lamps like these -- fluorescents, high efficiency sodium lamps, and the like -- emit light at discrete wavelengths. High bandwidth lamps depend on incandescence to produce light. Indeed, color temperature doesn't make sense for these kinds of lamps -- no black body radiator will emit discrete spectra. (There's a "corrected" color temperature unit for these lamps used in the lighting trade)

The point is: these lamps get hot. They reach about 6000K.

Re:COLOR temperature, not thermal temp (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832216)

I mixed up my pronouns. I mean that fluorescents and similar lamps do not rely on incandescence, so the black body model is not appropriate.

The lamp from the article appears to rely on incandescence (as we can conclude from the fact that it is a high bandwidth lamp), and so its temperature at the point of emission is close to its color temperature.

Internal Temperature Doesn't matter. (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832020)

> Such high operating temperatures would not be acceptable for domestic use
> - the risk of fire would simply be too great.

Don't be silly. 6000K is the internal temperature of the gas. The filament in an incandescent lamp can reach 3000K. What matters is the external temperature, which is likely to be lower for a more efficient lamp.

Re:Commercial use (-1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832174)

This is color temperature. Color temperature has absolutely nothing to do with the temperature that a bulb operates.

Color temperature is the temperature to which a black body would have to have in order to give off that color of light.

In this case, it would be physically impossible for a light of any sort to give off that much energy and only consume the amount of electricity available to even a street light.

My space heater uses 1500watts and requires I believe 12amps to operate and it would never be able to get anywhere near 6000k even if it were to ignite.

Re:Commercial use (4, Informative)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832234)

This is color temperature. Color temperature has absolutely nothing to do with the temperature that a bulb operates.

Oh lord.

What do you think color temperature is? It is the temperature at which an ideal black body radiator emits a given light spectrum. It most certainly has to do with the temperature at which an incandescent bulb operates. The hotter the bulb gets, the higher the color temperature. And moreover, the smaller the light emitter becomes, the closer color temperature and operating temperature become.

In this case, it would be physically impossible for a light of any sort to give off that much energy and only consume the amount of electricity available to even a street light.

Temperature isn't energy. Temperature is energy density. For a given amount of energy, the smaller the emitter is, the hotter it will be.

My space heater uses 1500watts and requires I believe 12amps to operate and it would never be able to get anywhere near 6000k even if it were to ignite.

And? The heat emitter is huge. Scale it down to about a 10th its size and run 1500W through it. It will glow a nice bright white before melting.

Re:Commercial use (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832186)

Actually, lighting is only about 1% of total electricity consumption. So switching bulbs to more efficient designs make sweet blue all difference in the greater scheme of things.

Re:Commercial use (-1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832278)

Sigh [wikipedia.org] . I'm pretty sure that by temperature, they mean color temperature.

Full sun spectrum?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831898)

Does that mean - it gives off Xray and gamma ray?
cancerous while stay indoor?

Re:Full sun spectrum?? (0)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832032)

Does that mean - it gives off Xray and gamma ray?

No.

Re:Full sun spectrum?? (2, Interesting)

zymano (581466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832102)

No different than any plasma given off by an Arc welder.

Hazardous UV. You get quite a sunburn like some welders.

Not good for the eyes either. All wasted energy too.

Price? (4, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831908)

So...how much does it cost compared to an incandescent? Or an LED?

Dan Aris

they tell you in the video (5, Funny)

snsh (968808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832228)

Sounds like the company has $40 million in funding. So one bulb costs $40 million.

Not as low energy as you think (5, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831916)

I found it interesting that the tiny bulb - at least in the video - was still using 250 watts and internally generated a temperature of 6000K (no they weren't talking color temp; they were talking actual temp). Now that's certainly lower than the 400 watt conventional streetlight they compared it to; but there's no mention in the video about scalability or low-power use. So the submitter's comment about it having advantages over compact fluorescents may have no basis in fact.

Re:Not as low energy as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831972)

but still, replacing current streetlights with those will probably save shitload of power and as a bonus, will probably pay themselves in a couple of
months

Re:Not as low energy as you think (3, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832018)

but there's no mention in the video about scalability or low-power use


Well they say in the video that it is almost 10 times as efficient in terms of Lumen's per watt (140 vs 15 for a normal bulb). I assume what you mean though is that the new argon bulb might not be able to run at lower powers. So if you just wanted a 60 Watt bulb equivalent, it might not be possible. Is that what you mean?

Re:Not as low energy as you think (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832252)

I know I'd be pretty pissed if I got to the bathroom at night, turned on the light and got a 35000 lumen spotlight in my face :)

Re:Not as low energy as you think (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832072)

I found it interesting that the tiny bulb - at least in the video - was still using 250 watts and internally generated a temperature of 6000K (no they weren't talking color temp; they were talking actual temp). Now that's certainly lower than the 400 watt conventional streetlight they compared it to; but there's no mention in the video about scalability or low-power use. So the submitter's comment about it having advantages over compact fluorescents may have no basis in fact.
Stick one right outside your window, pointing in, and you have daylight at night.

Re:Not as low energy as you think (1)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832092)

When they turn on the light in the video the brightness ramps up over the course of a second or two. I'm not sure if this is because of a dimming control or just the starting up process, but it seems feasible that it could be operated at reduced power levels with the appropriate control circuitry, though there is no telling if that will cause an efficiency hit until they release more details.

Re:Not as low energy as you think (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832260)

The article did state the light source under discussion is an order of magnitude more efficient than a incandescent bulb. It is unclear if they are talking about color temperature or surface temperature, i will agree that it was probably surface temperature. I don't know how this will be scaled down, as the key here is high temperature plasma. How little material can you have and still have a viable plasma?

Fundamentally, this appears to be an arc vapor type bulb, like in projectors. While such a bulb is relatively efficient and is an excellent light sources, it has drawback for even some commercial use, and certainly home use. For example, even with insulating layer of vacuum, the surface gets very hot and makes the room hot. This is not only a safety issue, but also is an issue in cooling the room. What you no longer pay for in light, you pay for in air conditioning. This is one are where fluorescents are superior.

I can't see this as a long term solution. The overhead to using these lamps have always made them a niche player. For instance, the insulating layers and radiation protection. Fluorescents, even with the mercury issue, are probably still the better solution. LEDs are going to suffer the same fate of Fluorescents. Not really enough money in it to develop the product. Until LEDs are mandated, which won't happen until someone figures our how to make money off it, we will be using fluorescents. Incandescent will likely be banned in 5 years.

Where's the story? (2, Interesting)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831930)

I went to the link, but it was just an obnoxious video ad. And no, I didn't sit through it.

I know that a lot of the stories on here are ads in disguise, but this one isn't even hiding. I didn't realize that slashdot was an a linking to unabashed ads now.

Re:Where's the story? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832096)

I went to the link, but it was just an obnoxious video ad. And no, I didn't sit through it.
The story was right after the ad. And no, 30s wasn't too long to wait for it.

Long life projectors (3, Funny)

epilido (959870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831934)

The company makes many different forms of lighting including projectors http://www.luxim.com/ [luxim.com] A home projector with 10 times the bulb life would let me watch just that much more porn in my mom's basement.......

In Soviet Russia (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22831970)

In Soviet Russia, 6000K burns you! Oh, wait...

Ok, sombody's got to say it..... (4, Funny)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831978)

Thats a bright idea.

Re:Ok, sombody's got to say it..... (1)

jadin (65295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832106)

I'm getting burned out on comments like this.

Re:Ok, sombody's got to say it..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832230)

Socket to me then.

video wont play in firefox... (1)

HelloKitty (71619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831982)


does anyone have this problem? there's really no content there, when the video doesn't play. ;(

Re:video wont play in firefox... (1)

Nibbler999 (1101055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832346)

Make sure you have a flash plugin installed.

Okay, that was just too awesome! (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22831992)

Yes, it was just a little video bite, but the demo was wild!


I realize that for some reason, lighting technology punches one of my geek buttons. I was super-pumped about white LED technology, and this just blew me away. The bulb was the size of a Jelly-Belly jelly bean, and it out-shone a street lamp fixture the size of a jumbo hot-dog while burning a whole lot less power. How gee-whiz is that?

At 6000K, though, it's not going to be in my living room, but I'll be really happy to see this in street lamps. And it looks like the parts are going to cost pennies per unit. I love lighting technology. What a super-geek I am!


-FL

Re:Okay, that was just too awesome! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832064)

> At 6000K, though, it's not going to be in my living room...

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I have to tell you that your incandescents are already running at 3000K. If you are so into lighting technology perhaps you might try to find time to actually study up on the subject.

Re:Okay, that was just too awesome! (4, Informative)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832116)

6000K? Who cares? The thing is, this bulb is generating about 10 times the lumens per watt of input power as a standard incandescent. That means that it is dissipating more energy in the form of light and less in the form of heat. Regardless of the internal temperature of the plasma, how "hot" the bulb gets is really a function of the actual dissipated energy. For instance, a spark of static electricity has an extremely high "temperature" but it doesn't burn you. Granted, some of that energy might be occuring in the infra-red range, but I doubt it will be any hotter than a normal bulb.

Also, if you look at HPS (high-pressure sodium vapor) lamps, the orange ones they use for street lights, the vessel that produces the light is actually quite small. There is an internal tube (made of quartz, I think) that holds the sodium. For the first few minutes, the bulb appears blue because you are seeing an arc in the center of it. After the sodium boils and then turns into a plasma, it is in a higher energy state and starts throwing off photons.

The only difference in this bulb is they are eliminating the electrodes and using a different plasma. They use a high frequency RF that's tuned to the resonate frequency of the gas. Sort of like a microwave does for water, but this is more focused. The gas resonates and becomes a plasma. Then it starts throwing off photons. Your efficiency is limited by how efficiently you can make your RF circuit and amplifier and how focused you can place the RF. I imagine they are quoting the theoretical efficiency but they probably haven't achieved it yet.

Re:Okay, that was just too awesome! (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832118)

At 6000K, though, it's not going to be in my living room
Do you have regular light bulbs in your living room?
"When electric current flows through the filament, it heats the filament to a temperature of about 3000 C (about 5000 F), causing the filament to glow [hypertextbook.com] and provide light."

Somebody please correct my math... (3, Informative)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832008)

But isn't 20,000 hours only a little more than 2 years?


365 * 24 == 8760

20,000 / 8760 == 2.283


Is that right, or am I way off?

Re:Somebody please correct my math... (5, Informative)

epilido (959870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832070)

Lights are not on all of the time. if less than 12 hours use which is likely than your calculations put the life at 5 years in a street light configuration.

Re:Somebody please correct my math... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832232)

But isn't 20,000 hours only a little more than 2 years?

Remember that CFLs have a life span of 5000 - 8000 hrs.

Good News (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832028)

Ah, some good news. We need more of that.

140 lumens/watt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22832044)

That's really efficient. http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_lighting.html [otherpower.com] http://members.misty.com/don/lede.html [misty.com]

The best modern available white LEDs (as of late 2007) produce about 60-90, maybe 98 lumens of light per watt of electricity delivered to the LEDs when the LEDs are supplied "typical" current or that at which their characteristics are specified. Many others that are in recent LED products achieve merely 20-45 lumens/watt. Most such white LEDs are and will be slightly more efficient when moderately underpowered and will usuallty be less efficient when overpowered.

Taken in the context of some of the other posts, I have trouble believing their claim. If the product was that good, they would make it for general use not just video projectors. If the product was that good, it would be a real breakthrough because it beats LEDs by around 40%.

Dual purpose? (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832062)

With an operating temperature of 6000k how many do I need to heat my house? Could a central array of these bulbs combined with optical fibers provide all my heating/lighting needs and still achieve power savings?

Re:Dual purpose? (4, Informative)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832134)

Answer is (probably) you'd need more of them to heat your house than standard bulbs. This is more efficient at converting energy into light, so it actually produces less heat than a light bulb. It may get to 6000K, but only at a very small point, so the amount of heat produced is quite small. A big radiator full of hot water will be more effective in terms of heat output. A radiator has huge size but a lower output per unit volume, whereas this has a very small volume but a high temperature.

It also says 6000K at its center; I'm not sure whether it transmits that heat to the casing or not.

Re:Dual purpose? (2, Informative)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832222)

With an operating temperature of 6000k how many do I need to heat my house?

That won't work, because the temperature it reaches has nothing to do with the amount of heat it emmits. Besides, if it's almost 10 times as efficient as ordinary bulbs, you would have 10 times as much light to get the same heat. You would get warm, but I doubt you would able to sleep with that much light.

Low power, Light spectrum close to sunlight too (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832066)

Perfect for my indoor marijuana plantation.... :-)

LEDs a better choice (0, Redundant)

Doofus (43075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832076)

This [physorg.com] article repeats the 6000K figure for the Luxim device's operating temperature, which seems a bit toasty for widespread consumer adoption.

Most incandescents [wikipedia.org] and CFLs [wikipedia.org] operate at half this temperature.

LED-based [wikipedia.org] lighting is safer and far more efficient than the Luxim device.

Re:LEDs a better choice (2, Informative)

epilido (959870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832190)

per your link...... LED-based [wikipedia.org] lighting is safer and far more efficient than the Luxim device. Hmm the efficiencies listed state 100 lumen's per watt the parent shows 140l/W seems like leds are not far more efficient. I realize that the article taht you linked doesn't have the most up to date stats on leds and that the recent led bulbs are better that the eiki link but not that much better.... And I am not sure where safer comes from

Re:LEDs a better choice (1)

Bob MacSlack (623914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832342)

"LED-based lighting is safer and far more efficient than the Luxim device."

How do you figure?

Luxim: 140 lm/W
LED: up to 100 lm/W

I'll agree with the safety being higher with LED, but I'm not sure the difference is important.

Big Bites Only (1)

Mondak (775074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832094)

While these seem like they have a lot of promise for making great leaps when it comes to efficiently generating light, I don't think they scale downwards very well. Yes, a 250 watt one of these makes the same amount of light in lumens that it takes 500, 1000 watts or more for other efficient bulbs to make. The good news here is that this technology makes a case for for the lumens per watt crown. The thing is that you are still using 250 watts. If you don't need say 35,000 lumens to read by, I don't think you can make the technology work at say 25 watts. Maybe you can make a 500 watt one if you need more, but I suspect there is a floor that these things need to operate. Maybe someone can straighten me out if I am wrong.

full spectrum? (4, Informative)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832158)

Full spectrum with an Ar plasma at 6000K ~= 0.5 eV? Yes, you can get a lot of light out of it and it looks white, but I wouldn't call it a full spectrum. There are mostly peaks in the region 900-1500 (I don't have a spectra right in front of me right now, so from memory). But I could be wrong of course.

Re:full spectrum? (3, Informative)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832262)

argh, I am so used to these numbers I don't pay attention to the units anymore.
That is 900-1500 nm.
Another few tidbits:
Ar plasma: white
Ar + H2 plasma: red
Ar + O2 plasma: purple-like
Ar + N2 plasma: greenish
Ar + too much current through the copper cathodes: priceless... (lots of copper sparks actually)

Black Body Radiation (2, Informative)

sd.fhasldff (833645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832316)

OK, so plasma is not very close to an ideal black body, but regardless you still get some wide spectrum emissions with a peak near that of a corresponding black body. In this case (6000 Kelvin), that's a pretty nice white.

Re:full spectrum? (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832318)

Full spectrum doesn't necessarily mean perfectly smooth. There are "full spectrum" CCFLs too. As far as I can tell it just means that the white is pretty neutral, and that the spectrum is close to, or 100%, covered. So while this light might not be totally smooth, if it covers 100% of the spectrum, it is full spectrum. Also, the peaks might be something that could be mitigated to some extent with a filter. There are incandescents that do this. The bulb has a bluish tint to it because there is a colour filter on the glass. The net effect is to give a more natural spectrum since incandescents are so heavy in the red-yellow area normally.

Street lights? (3, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832182)

Why would we need street lights with a very strong light source using the same spectrum as the sun? What about putting one of these into a beamer instead? Or stadium lights? Every time somebody comes up with a great invention, they seem to want to use it for the weirdest things. Bright sun-light lite disturbs the wildlife anyway, bad idea...

Re:Street lights? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832242)

"Why would we need street lights with a very strong light source using the same spectrum as the sun"

i think you answered your own questions. oh and you know what else disturbs the wildlife? being run over by cars that can't see them because of poor lighting.

Things I want to know (3, Insightful)

Nodamnnicknamesavial (1095665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832200)

1. Scalability - will it scale for use in domestic lighting?

2. Color temperature - will it do warm white or something similarly pleasant?

3. Argon... isn't that toxic? (since the summary mentioned hazardous materials but didn't point that out, high school chem is so long ago..)

4. Price if none of the above are problematic

5. Time to market.

If someone can answer those, I'll be genuinely interested :)

Re:Things I want to know (4, Informative)

asc99c (938635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832296)

1) It scales down a bit at least. I'm pretty they were marketing it last year for projector bulbs at around 150W. Not sure whether it scales further down than that.

2) 6000K is very close to sunlight so yeah it's a nice warm sunny light - should in theory be nicer than incandescent light anyway.

3) No - it's a noble gas (unreactive) and naturally present in the atmosphere, making up nearly 1% of it in fact.

4 and 5) Dunno. I was just searching for the projector bulb version and couldn't find any actually for sale, which given that it was announced half a year ago isn't great going :(

Wow imagine the argicultural uses (2, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832204)

Full spectrum high efficiency lights would be a major boon to the pot.... I mean industrial hemp growers.

Growing exotic plants indoors (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832264)

One of the problems of current LED and other low-energy bulbs is that they're no good for indoor cultivation of plants. Using lights which require less power and produce less heat are less detectable than regular indoor grow lights. I wonder if these lights are the answer?

Does it scale down? (1)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832288)

A 250w street lamp is great but can a 30w version be created to compete with a 100w incandescent/40w compact florescent bulb?

Just curious to know if this is something that doesn't work unless you run it really high.

I now wait for news stories about children swallowing on of the bulbs or the video on YouTube of someone shooting a powered up bulb with a gun.

plasma torpedoes (1)

papermate (1170661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832304)

Now if we just replace the argon with trilithium isotopes and turn that magnetic "puck" into some form of rail-gun, we'll have plasma torpedoes!

Perfect for my "rose" garden! (2, Interesting)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22832356)

This would be great tech for growing a room full of the ganja. Full spectrum light, low power, made in California? Come on... thats what they designed it for!
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