The human eye is as comfortable with white light generated by diode lasers as with that produced by increasingly popular light-emitting diodes (LEDs), according to tests conceived at Sandia National Laboratories.
The finding is important because LEDs — widely accepted as more efficient and hardier replacements for century-old tungsten incandescent bulb technology — lose efficiency at electrical currents above 0.5 amps. However, the efficiency of a sister technology — the diode laser — improves at higher currents, providing even more light than LEDs at higher amperages.
In the test setup, similar bowls of fruit were placed in a lightbox with a divider in the middle. In this photo, the bowl on one side was illuminated by a diode laser light and the other was lit by a standard incandescent bulb. The aesthetic quality of diode laser lighting (left bowl) compares favorably with standard incandescent lighting (right). (Photo by Randy Montoya)
A cooperative approach might use blue and red diode lasers with yellow and green LEDs. Or blue diode lasers could be used to illuminate phosphors — the technique currently used by fluorescent lights and the current generation of LED-based white light — to create desirable shades of light.
The result makes possible still further efficiencies for the multibillion dollar lighting industry. The so-called ‘‘smart beams’’ can be adjusted on site for personalized color renderings for health reasons and, because they are directional, also can provide illumination precisely where it’s wanted.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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