The way we see, feel, and touch things is about to change. In fact, the change has already begun and though it hasn’t touched our lives in any significant manner yet the day when that happens is around the corner.
From self-cleaning windows to super energy efficient lighting, nanotechnology is revolutionizing the way we live.
Lighting has been an important aspect of our lives, of our existence.
Due to the awareness that the world is fast running out of fossil fuels and other natural sources of energy, the need for finding green and efficient lighting sources has become even more important.
CFL and LED or light emitting diodes lights are just two of the most common examples of green lighting sources.
However, as technology improves, and newer grounds are covered in science, the use of nanotechnology to further increase the efficiency of LED lighting has started looking more realistic.
LEDs were first discovered in the 1920s. They are semi-conductors that have the capability to change electricity into light. Once the light switch is turned on, electrons journey through an area with larger numbers to an area with lesser numbers, and release small pools of energy or photons (which is the lowest form of light).
The best part about LED lights is that they don’t release any heat unlike traditional tungsten bulbs.
So also, LED lighting uses only a small percentage of energy as required by regular bulbs and they don’t contain any toxic metals like mercury that are used in CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. All this makes LED lights efficient, durable, and longer lasting.
LED Lighting Colors
You’ve probably seen LED lighting in colors like blue, green, yellow, and white. The color of the LED lights is dependent on the type of semiconductors used. Red colored LEDs were the first on the scene, followed by orange.
After many years, the most commonly used, blue LED lights used in mobiles, laptops, CD players, and other electronic appliances, were developed. However, the most important of all LED lights are the white LEDs.
There is no such thing as a true white LED. The white LED used is actually blue LED filtered through a coating of yellow phosphorus that emits faux-white light that has a perceptible bluish hue.
Experts believe that if white LEDs are paired with green LEDs, we should be able to get lighting in almost every visible color.
If a high performing green LED light can be developed, it would pave the way for high performing, energy efficient electronic devices like LED TVs, Computer monitors, and many others.
Unfortunately, green LEDs are a lot more difficult to develop than perceived. Ongoing researches in the US are aiming to create LEDs in green color, which would be at par with red/blue LEDs.
Nanotech LED Lighting
As explained above, passing electrons through nano semiconductors, also known as ‘quantum dots,’ emit light which has many applications in fields like biology, computers, medicine, solar heating, and lighting.
Perhaps, that is why there is a huge focus on related R&D and scientists are researching the use of different nanotechnologies to create more energy efficient LEDs.
Companies like Nanosys are using semiconductors of remote phosphorous to develop LEDs that turn blue light into a warmer shade of white that is similar to the currently used traditional white of fluorescent bulbs. The phosphorous used in this experiment is created from ‘nano-materials.’
Since human eyes are hyper-sensitive to the color green, the LEDs have an increased level of green to give us a false sense of brightness, without actually heightening the brightness level of the display.
This helps create an excellent picture quality, but by using only very little energy, making it the primary method to be employed in devices that have display panels.
This is promising news for those following the use of nanotechnology in various fields. With this attempt by Nanosys, the company believes it will be able to design LEDs in just about any color, which is going to be a huge leap forward from the currently used LED displays as well as in other electronic devices that emit stronger hues.
While the company has created many experimental LED bulbs, these LED quantum dots will firstly be used for TV and notebook displays to offer consumer a wider range of colors. However, a larger range of colors may lead to poor battery life, especially in case of laptops etc.
The day when nanocrystals can be ‘painted’ on flat surfaces to create paper-thin displays are not far!
Furthermore, not too far from now, we’ll be able to use LED to paint walls in colors of our choice, rather than actual paint. Yes, truly with use nanotech, life is only going to be more exciting and, dare we say, vibrantly colorful!