Shining a Brighter Light

June 14, 2005

New lighting technology developed at UC Davis offers quality, cost and environmental benefits compared with existing types of lighting, according to Charles E. Hunt, professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Field emission lamps can match exactly the spectrum of natural daylight, Hunt said. They are up to five times more energy efficient than existing R- and PAR-type lamps and do not contain environmentally hazardous materials, such as the mercury vapor used in fluorescent tubes, he said. They are cheaper and can produce a wider variety of colors than light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The technology could be used for indoor and outdoor area lighting, specialty applications such as film and video production, and for illuminated displays, traffic signals or technical lighting.

Field emission lamps are based on the same principle as the luminescent phosphor materials used in TV sets. Light is emitted when electrons are driven into the material. Traditional TV sets use a thermal electron gun to fire electrons into a phosphor screen. The new field emission devices use a powerful electric field to extract electrons from the cathode and drive them into the phosphor, which are located close together. The process is dramatically more efficient than the filaments used in electron guns.

"It combines 70-year-old vacuum tube technology with the latest advances in carbon nanomaterials," said Andrei Chakhovskoi, co-inventor of the device.

The UC Davis laboratory has developed materials for field emission cathodes that are inexpensive and simple to make. Lamps based on the material should have a lifetime of up to 30,000 hours, Hunt estimates.

Hunt's group is working with the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis and the California Energy Commission on potential applications. The technology is based on inventions at UC Davis and on a collection of patents and intellectual property donated to UC Davis in 2004 by DuPont Corporation. The university is currently negotiating agreements to license the technology for commercial development.

Source: UC Davis

Explore further: Nanocarriers may carry new hope for brain cancer therapy

Related Stories

Nanocarriers may carry new hope for brain cancer therapy

November 19, 2015

Glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer of the brain also known as "octopus tumors" because of the manner in which the cancer cells extend their tendrils into surrounding tissue, is virtually inoperable, resistant to therapies, ...

Study urges optimization of solar energy development

October 19, 2015

With mounting vigor for combating global climate change, increasing the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, without compromising natural habitats, is a challenge to the traditional model of utility-scale solar ...

Recommended for you

Study finds 'rudimentary' empathy in macaques

December 1, 2015

(—A pair of researchers with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Lyon, in France has conducted a study that has shown that macaques have at least some degree of empathy towards their fellow ...

Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle

December 1, 2015

Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" ...

Quantum dots used to convert infrared light to visible light

December 1, 2015

(—A team of researchers at MIT has succeeded in creating a double film coating that is able to convert infrared light at modest intensities into visible light. In their paper published in the journal Nature Photonics, ...

Xbox gaming technology may improve X-ray precision

December 1, 2015

With the aim of producing high-quality X-rays with minimal radiation exposure, particularly in children, researchers have developed a new approach to imaging patients. Surprisingly, the new technology isn't a high-tech, high-dollar ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.