Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC have created a new type of light bulb that uses layers of plastic that are nano-engineered, rather than using glass and harmful chemicals that are found in traditional lighting. The new bulbs are officially called field-induced polymer electroluminescent bulbs, or FIPEL for short, and they have the same benefits as LED lighting, but without any of the setbacks.
Researchers say that the new bulbs could replace traditional fluorescent lighting as early as next year. The team says that a "corporate partner" is already interested in producing the new bulbs at scale. Unlike fluorescent lighting, the new bulbs will be flicker-free, shatterproof, and won't burn out.
The FIPEL bulbs are made from three layers of white-emitting polymer that contain a small dose of nanomaterials that glow when electric current is passed through them, and they emit light that most closely matches natural sunlight, unlike incandescent light bulbs, which emits a yellowish-orange light, and LEDs, which emit a blueish light.
The FIPEL bulbs will offer the same benefits as traditional lighting, but won't come with all of the drawbacks associated with them. Researchers pointed out that even the faint humming sound of fluorescent lighting wouldn't be present in the new FIPEL bulbs, and that heat also wouldn't be a problem, since the researchers have come up with a way to eliminate heat-producing culprits while still producing as much light as possible.