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Forget Fluorescent: Plasma Lights Could be the Future

A group of engineers are hoping to bring a new light bulb to market that could make existing forms of illumination look like tired, worthless crap. Oh, and it’s super thin, cheap to make, and highly efficient. It also has the added advantage of using plasma to generate light, making it extremely brag-worthy.

The new plasma lights were first conceived by Gary Eden and Sung-Jin Park. Unlike incadescent or fluorescent lights, plasma lights have a 125 micron thick piece of foil at their core. This foil is covered with tiny cavities and sandwiched between a sheet of glass and a backing, and the light is filled with gas. When a current is run through the foil, plasma forms in the holes, which in turn creates UV light that phosphors then convert to visible light, but you get the idea.

And apparently quite a bit of light. According to the UK Register, the plasma lights have “a utilisation efficiency of over 90 per cent” and have the advantage of working with dimmer switches. Also, the plasma lights require no magnetic ballast like fluorescent lights, and generate less heat than LEDs. Because the pockmarked foil is used to create light, the bulbs can also be made in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Despite having been in development for some time, the plasma lights are still a little ways away from becoming a mainstream item. However, if they ever do come to market, you’ll be able to enjoy energy-conscious light with a sci-fi name. What more could you ask for?

(Eden Park via The Register)

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