15. Emerging Technologies

15. Emerging Technologies

Plasma Lighting

Plasma lamps light sources that generate light by exciting a plasma inside a closed transparent burner or bulb using radio frequency (RF) power. Typically, such lamps use a noble gas or a mixture of these gases and additional materials such as metal halides, sodium, mercury or sulfur. In modern plasma lamps, a waveguide is used to constrain and focus the electrical field into the plasma. In operation, the gas is ionized, and free electrons, accelerated by the electrical field, collide with gas and metal atoms. Some atomic electrons circling around the gas and metal atoms are excited by these collisions, bringing them to a higher energy state. When the electron falls back to its original state, it emits a photon, resulting in visible light or ultraviolet radiation, depending on the fill materials

Life span In the past, the life of the plasma lamps was limited by the magnetron used to generate the microwaves. Solid state RF chips can be used and give long lives. However, using solid-state chips to generate RF is currently an order of magnitude more expensive than using a magnetron and so only appropriate for high-value lighting niches. It has recently been shown to be possible to extend the life of magnetrons to over 40,000 hours, making low-cost plasma lamps possible.

High-efficiency plasma (HEP)

High-efficiency plasma lighting is the class of plasma lamps that have system efficiencies of 90 lumens per watt or more. Lamps in this class are potentially the most energy-efficient light source for outdoor, commercial and industrial lighting. This is due not only to their high system efficiency but also to the small light source they present enabling very high luminaire efficiency.

Though plasma lamps do not have a ballast, they have an RF power supply that fulfills the equivalent function. In electrodeless lamps, the inclusion of the electrical losses, or "ballast factor", in lumens per watt claimed can be particularly significant as conversion of electrical power to radio frequency (RF) power can be a highly inefficient process.

Many modern plasma lamps have very small light sources—far smaller than HID bulbs or fluorescent tubes—leading to much higher luminaire efficiencies also. High intensity discharge lamps have typical luminaire efficiencies of 55%, and fluorescent lamps of 70%. Plasma lamps typically have luminaire efficiencies exceeding 90%.

New Applications

Halogen CFL’s

The new hybrid bulb operates in two stages. After being switched on, the bulb sends power to both the fluorescent portion and the halogen capsule inside the bulb, allowing the bulb to operate noticeably brighter in less than a half a second. Once the CFL comes to full brightness, the halogen capsule shuts off, leaving only light produced by the CFL portion of the bulb.

The new hybrid bulb will also use less mercury than CFL on the market today. Scientists engineered the bulb to operate with just 1 mg. of mercury. Currently, mercury levels inside CFLs range from 1.5 mg to 3.5 mg per bulb.

The initial product launch in 2011 will bring U.S. and Canadian consumers 15-watt and 20-watt hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs. The 15 and 20-watt bulbs are considered viable replacements for 60-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs, respectively.

Visible Light Communication Enabled LED

Visible light communication involves two-way communication using the medium of light. Photons, which can be seen by the human eye, carry an embedded signal, which is unseen.

A significant attribute of LEDs is their ability to switch on and off thousands of times per second. No other lighting technology has this capability. This switching occurs at ultra-high speeds, so far beyond what the human eye can detect, that the light appears to be constantly on. Amazingly, the technology can transmit a signal even when the light appears off. These embedded signals are emitted from the LEDs in the form of binary code; 'off' equals zero and 'on' equals one. When equipment and devices are placed throughout a building of geographical area, a comprehensive wireless communication network can be created.

OLED’s (Organic Electronic Devices)