This flexible light-emitting plastic might be the future of light bulbs

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Ken Bennett/Wake Forest University

To me, all the different types of light bulbs on the market right now suck. Compact fluorescents (CFL) contain mercury, incandescents are too yellow, fluorescents buzz, and LEDs are still too expensive and too blue for my tastes.

Scientists at the Wake Forest University in North Carolina may have a better lighting solution with a new type of light bulb that’s made with plastic . According to the researchers, their light bulbs utilize field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology to create a soft white light that's similar in color to sunlight.

The light bulbs are made of a three layers of a moldable, light-emitting polymer blended with a small amount of nano-materials. FIPEL uses the carbon nanotube-laden polymer to create a steady white light when stimulated by an electrical charge.

The researchers say that their plastic bulbs are twice as efficient as CFLs and are just about on par with LEDs. On top of that, the pliable polymer could be used to create anything from extremely large lighting panels to your typical light bulb. FIPELs can also last for a long time: One of the researchers has one that he says "worked for about a decade."

The team documented its technology in a study that will appear in the journal Organic Electronics. Wake Forest is already working with a company to manufacture the technology and plans to have a consumer product ready as early as next year.

[Wake Forest University via PhysOrg]

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This story, "This flexible light-emitting plastic might be the future of light bulbs " was originally published by TechHive.

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