In: Science

Submitted By Mazdarx8
Words 714
Pages 3
Let there be LED
LEDs are semiconductors, and like all solid-state technology, they are getting better and cheaper on a predictable curve. In 1999, a researcher named Roland Haitz, then heading up semiconductor R&D at Hewlett-Packard, coauthored a paper that became the lighting industry’s manifesto. By charting the historical prices of LEDs and projecting forward, Haitz estimated that the amount of light they produced would increase by a factor of 20 per decade, while the cost would correspondingly drop by a factor of 10. Haitz’s law has proven remarkably accurate. Fluorescent lightening has been around since the 1930s, GE physicist Ed Hammer was the first, in 197, to figure out how to twirl that long gas-filled tube so it would screw into a standard socket. The GE CFL produced as much light as an incandescent, while drawing just 20 percent as much electricity. In 1980, Philips became the first company to market a CFL, with a design based on a series of bends rather than GE’s spiral. But problems of dimming, flicker, and light colour remained. And manufacturer claims of bulb lifetime and quality were wildly exaggerated. Consumers didn’t understand that CFLs burn out rapidly when they’re not allowed to rest at least 15 minutes between being cycled off and on. Though industry claims that some of the problems resulted from an early influx of cheap imported bulbs are true- as in the fact that CFLs have improved- many issues remain. No-name commodity bulbs still perform poorly, and even the big brands continue to poison the well by selling for example, CFL floodlights, which often wind up in outdoor motion-sensor systems. This is an absolutely inappropriate use, given how fast the bulbs expire when they have to flick on and off so quickly. The final blow came when consumers learned the CFLs contain mercury, enough that the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup…...

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