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New Prototype LED Lightbulb Emits A smaller amount of that Troublesome Blue Light

LED lightbulbs offer considerable advantages over other kinds of lighting. Being more effective, they might require a smaller amount electricity to operate. They don't give off unwanted heat the way in which old-school incandescent bulbs do, and the good ones long outlast even fluorescent lightbulbs.

But LEDs aren't problem-free. Questions linger over suspected links between health issues for example fatigue, mood disorders, and insomnia from overexposure to the blue-tinted light produced by today’s standard LED bulbs. Plus, higher prices can prompt lightbulb shoppers to weigh other options.

A University of Houston research team led by Jakoah Brgoch, associate professor of chemistry within the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and principal investigator in the Texas Center for Superconductivity, is developing an LED bulb that emits most of its energy in the safer violet segment from the visible light spectrum. Instead of just masking the blue light, they are creating a unique type of luminescent materials called phosphors that absorb a violet LED’s single-color emission and convert the sunshine to cover a lot of the visible spectrum.

“We is creating phosphors that operate, not with the conventional blue LED chip that nearly every LED bulb uses today, however with a violet LED chip. This basically moves from blue to violet because the base source after which converts the violet LED light in to the broad-spectrum white light that we see,” Brgoch explained. “Our ultimate goal is perfect for this new violet-based bulb to become as energy-efficient as possible as well as cheap, eventually making new lighting technology marketable to consumers.”

At this point, you may be looking at your favorite lamp’s standard LED bulb and finding its white light to become all right. But from a technical perspective, there actually is no such thing as pure white light.

Hold a prism as much as that bulb, and you’ll see its light broken into wavelengths that show an attractive variety of color bands ranging from violet to red; this is what scientists call the visible spectrum of light. (In case your prism isn’t handy, then imagine having your own tiny rainbow. It might look much the same.)

Your lamp light looks white because your eyes and brain interact to blend human perception of those separate bands of color into a white light that could now be illuminating the words you read. Various kinds of lightbulbs emphasize different parts of the visible spectrum of light.

Engineers at lighting companies manipulate the total amount to create a specific ambiance. A little more red yields a hot, mellow white light that's nice inside a family room, while cool blue tones give off crisp white light better for office lighting. But away from laboratory, the LEDs’ tendency toward blue has been hard to avoid.

“Sometimes you already know it-those would be the cheapest LED lightbulbs. And then sometimes it looks like a nice warm white light. But even just in the most expensive lightbulbs, if it’s based on a blue LED, there is still a significant factor of blue light sneaking through,” the professor explained.

Lately, scientists happen to be focusing on how light frequencies affect health.

“Using the creation of LED lighting, companies have started attempting to know how humans communicate with light and, more importantly, how light interacts with humans,” Brgoch said. “As you sit in your office, the blue hues inside your light are a great thing because they help you stay alert. But that same light during the night might keep you awake. This is actually the balance you have to strike. It’s about following a natural circadian cycle without disruption.”

Sleep studies reveal that nighttime overexposure to blue frequencies can alter hormones like melatonin, sometimes leading to insomnia, disturbed sleep cycles, along with other problems. An excessive amount of blue-light exposure also is suspected in cataract formation. Interestingly, urban dwellers living amid LED-based street lights, traffic lights, and lighted commercial signs experience more day-and-night LED exposure than suburbanites.

“That’s not saying we ought to just remove all the blue light out of your lightbulbs. You need some of the blue spectrum. It’s not about eliminating the blue, it’s about keeping it to a reasonable level. That’s what we’re seeking with our work,” said graduate research assistant Shruti Hariyani, a writer from the paper.

Back within the lab, Brgoch and his team are centered on identifying phosphors and discovering that are most feasible, in energy efficiency and economy, to advance to prototype bulbs. “We look at finding new materials in an effort to also reduce the cost of these lights. If you have more materials available, patent licensing costs drop and that helps make the bulbs cheaper. So that’s our driving forces,” Brgoch said.