2 Comments »Posted on Sunday 8 February 2009 at 12:19 pm by Jacob Aron
In Biology, Inventions & Technology, Yes, But When?

Here’s the rest of this week’s roundup.

LED the way!

I’ve always said that CFL light bulbs are only a stop-gap solution until LED bulbs are ready for commercial use. Now, New Scientist report that they could be coming soon. A team at the University of Cambridge have developed a new method for creating LEDs at a fraction of previous costs.

Currently LEDs are made from gallium nitride, which cannot be grown on silicon like other similar electrical components because it shrinks twice as fast as silicon when cooling. The solution in the past has been to use sapphire, which of course makes the result LEDs too expensive.

Colin Humphreys and colleagues at the University of Cambridge have figured out a way to grow LEDs on silicon, by adding layers of aluminium gallium nitride, which shrink much slower than any of the other materials, balancing it out. The result is a 15 cm silicon wafer costing just $15 whilst containing 150,000 LEDs – perfect for commercial light bulbs.

The FT likes science

The Association of British Science Writers points out that whilst the Financial Times’ decision to cut its sports coverage is bad news for those losing their jobs, it’s actually pretty positive for science.

Why? Well, unlike CNN, the FT clearly value their science journalists and their reporting more than that of its sports department. It’s a shame that cuts have to be made, but at least it’s not science getting the chop this time.

Time for a swim

More animal pictures from the Daily Mail I’m afraid! This time it’s the turn of polar bears.

Polar plunge. Photographer: Steven J Kazlowski/Barcroft Med.
Polar plunge. Photographer: Steven J Kazlowski/Barcroft Med.

  1. 2 Comments

  2. The time for LEDs isn’t coming, it’s here now! I’ve been buying LEDs for a while and lately they are getting very affordable.

    My favorite LED lights are the Pharox bulb to substitute for 40 watt bulbs. http://www.ledinsider.com/Search.aspx?Query=pharox

    I also love the light from some of the PARs – PAR20, PAR30 and PAR 38 LEDs as replacements for the brighter incandescent bulbs.

    I absolutely LOVE this Par30 LED – http://www.eaglelight.com/product/XP30-12W/LED_light_bulb_replacement_for_bulb_type_wattage_75W_spot_light__Eaglelightcom.html

    …and this PAR38 – http://www.eaglelight.com/product/XP38-23W/LED_light_bulb_replacement_for_PAR38_150W_spot_light__Eaglelightcom.html

    These LEDs give out so much light for such a small fraction of the electricity that you can recoup the cost in just a very few months of electric bills.

    By Sam on Monday 9 February, 2009 at 2:46 am

  3. I’m afraid I wouldn’t call $50 for a light bulb affordable! If people baulk at spending a couple of quid on a CFL, there’s no way they would splash out on LEDs at that price – even if you would recoup the costs.

    By Jacob Aron on Monday 9 February, 2009 at 8:03 am

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