Scientists at MIT may have created a way to make an incandescent light bulb as energy efficient as an LED, according to their report published in Nature Nanotechnology.
Many people prefer regular incandescent light bulbs to LEDs because they offer a better quality of light than LEDs. They tend to provide a warm look to light that LEDs cannot. Unfortunately, they lose most of their energy and don't last very long as most of the energy is burned up as heat, rather than light. That is why the bulbs are hot after they've been on. The researchers at MIT may have found a way to change that.
As explained by MIT News, incandescent light bulbs work by sending electricity through what is called a tungsten wire, the twisty wire you see on the inside of a regular bulb. The wire heats up and eventually reaches temperatures of around 2,700 degrees Celsius. The wire then emits what is known as black body radiation, which is a broad spectrum of light that gives it its warm look.
The researchers at MIT demonstrated that by surrounding a plain incandescent tungsten wire with what is called a "nanophotonic interference system," a sort of filter, infrared light can be reflected back onto the wire while still allowing visible light to be transmitted out. In this way, the new, experimental bulb conserves the energy lost to heat while still producing the warm look of light produced by an incandescent bulb. It is still in the early stages but the researchers at MIT believe they can improve and refine their new bulb to make it as efficient as an LED (perhaps even more so) while still producing the much loved quality of light.
While the experimental bulb won't be available commercially any time soon,it does provide some hope for those who are nostalgic for the classic bulb.