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Light Bulbs -Journey to the OuterHouse May 28, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, Weird Bulb News.
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Gadzooks! We just recieved this youtube video where a satisfied zbulbs customer explains why zbulbs are zbest. Light bulbs, Compact fluorescent, country living and a very long extenstion cord.
Get Lit and Stay Lit with www.zbulbs.com
We have Compact Fluorescents, LEDs, and the light bulb lightbulbs!


Z got the LED out! LEDs are at Zbulbs.com! May 28, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights.
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Gadzooks! LED lights are at www.zbulbs.com!

Gadzooks! LED lights are at http://www.zbulbs.com!

ZOinks! We just added LED’s to our store at www.zbulbs.com! Come check them out. The most affordable price for the highest lighting technology!

Get Lit Stay Lit

Dr. Z

Treeboy demonstrates renewable energy-Bicycle power! May 27, 2009

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Zoinks! Here is an interesting article on how much energy it would take to power a incandescent by bicycle in comparison to a cfl. Guess which one takes more pedal power!

Dr. Z


Treeboy demonstrates renewable energy

Updated: May 27, 2009 09:00 AM CDT

Indiana State Fairgrounds – How much human energy does it take to power a light bulb? Tim ‘Treeboy’ Bush paid a visit to the state fairgrounds to demonstrate renewable energy. To make a comparison between how much energy it takes to light incandescent light bulbs as compared to compact flourescent lamps, or CFL’s, the power energy exerted from a pedaling bicyclist is transformed to energy capable of lighting light bulbs.

“It takes four times the power to light the incandescent verses the CFL,” Eric Burch, Office of Energy Development, said.

While pedaling at a quick pace, the goal was to light four incandescent light bulbs.

“He’s pedaling pretty consistently, too, and you can see that he’s not even going to get all four lit,” Burch said. “If we switch that over to the CFL’s, the same amount of power is getting three of them lit and the fourth one is starting to come on.”

Contrary to the incandescent, the CFL will flicker if there is not a consistent amount of power, like the bursts of power emitted from the bicyclist.

Burch said a very power-hungry, common household appliance is the hair dryer. While the bicyclist pedaled, Burch turned on a small hair dryer and the light bulbs quickly turned off.

“This (hair dryer) is barely running,” Burch said. “This is a 12-volt hair dryer, but it’s probably trying to pull about 500 volts.”

As part of the world’s largest classroom at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Normandy Barn houses the Office of Energy Development, which shares its space with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman put together the space to serve as a year-round classroom for many topics, including agriculture and energy.

In August, state fair goers will be able to try the same bike out on their own at the Office of Energy Development’s booth. This will give people a chance to learn more about how energy can only be transformed rather than created or destroyed.

New Dr Z Videos! The Dance of the Seven Spirals and a Carnival Shoot! May 21, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in light bulb, Light bulbs in pop culture, Weird Bulb News.
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Zoinks! Its me! Dr. Z! Boy oh boy we have a treat for you all now. Two brand new video’s of my adventures in and out of Lighthouse Labratories. See me perform my most mysterious Dance of the Seven Spirals! See Mr. Y learn his lesson when he mixes guns and bad lighting decisions! Watch and Enjoy!


Dr. Z



Zoinks! its Light Bulb revolt! Incandescent Fans are Rising Up. May 19, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, light bulb, List Article.
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ahh they don't make them like they use to

ahh they don't make them like they use to

gadzooks! As much as I love Compact Fluorescents I must say I will be sad to see incandescents will be banned by 2012 and its looking like many people not only share that sentiment but have becoming quite grumpy about the change. The article below addresses some questions about the ban of incandescent bulbs .

Get Lit Stay Lit

Dr. Z


Light-Bulb Revolt: Incandescent Fans Rise Up

From oven lights to spotlights, there’s a lot of worry about the coming phase-out

Posted January 30, 2008

Light bulbs certainly can heat up controversy. After reading last month’s FAQ on the coming phase-out of today’s incandescent light bulbs, many readers wrote to defend the old bulbs or ask about the finer points of the switchover. Here are some of their comments and questions about the transition to more energy-efficient lighting, which Congress light in my oven that withstands the extreme temperatures there. Is a compact fluorescent light bulb safe for use in an oven? How about in the refrigerator or freezer?
No, those swirly, efficient CFL bulbs will be great for most light fixtures, but they can’t withstand extreme hot or cold. However, appliance lamps up to 40 watts are exempt from the new energy law and will not be phased out.

I have incandescent spotlights outside to light up my yard. Fluorescent lights are known to work poorly in the cold. Will CFLs work in subzero conditions?
Outdoor spotlights will still be available as halogen spot or halogen floodlights. These products are on the market today. Halogen bulbs also are becoming more efficient—wasting less energy as heat—than used to be the case.

I have lighting fixtures in my home designed to show the bulb as decoration—like candle, flame-shaped, or clear decorative spheres. Are all these fixtures going to be obsolete?
Decorative lamps with small candelabra bases are exempt from the phase-out up to 60 watts. Decorative lamps with standard or medium-screw bases are exempt up to 40 watts. Large globe lights used in bathroom vanities will still be available.

I have heard that we will not be able to use our existing light sockets with these new bulbs, nor use lampshades, and that we will have to have all light sockets in our homes replaced.
The manufacturers say that CFLs are substantially shorter and smaller than they were just a few years ago. While some light bulbs had difficulty fitting certain lampshades in the past, most CFLs will fit in almost all table lamps today. Consumers are already making the switch. The federal Energy Star program says sales of CFLs, which use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times as long as incandescents, doubled in 2007 and now account for 20 percent of the light bulb market.

Banning incandescent light bulbs entirely would be a big mistake. Seldom mentioned is the fact (proved in my home) that CFLs cause interference in TV pictures and AM radio.
Strange, but apparently this used to be true! Some CFLs created “radio frequency interference,” but this is rare today. Manufacturers tell me you can avoid the problem if you choose bulbs with the government’s Energy Star rating, indicating that they’ve met a standard set by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC also requires CFL manufacturers to supply information (on or inside the package) that informs consumers what to do in the event that any interference is encountered (move your light bulb and your AM radio apart from each other).

As a matter of fact, many of the consumers who are worried about light quality and long life should also be sure they are using products that carry the Energy Star. The few CFLs on the market that don’t carry the star don’t meet the minimum government standards.

There are many locations where the extra cost of a fluorescent will never be repaid, such as little-used closets and attics.
The payback period may indeed be so slow as to be imperceptible in these locations. At least you won’t have to crawl up there and replace those bulbs too often. CFLs should last a long time.

Like a lot of problems, there is no “silver bullet” to solve every problem. The idea of banningincandescent bulbs needs to be re-evaluated to produce a more sensible approach.
Ah, but the United States isn’t really banning incandescent bulbs, as Australia recently did. All the major manufacturers—including General Electric, Osram Sylvania, and Philips—emphasize that, very much at their urging, Congress instead set new standards for greater efficiency in lighting. It doesn’t matter what technology the light bulb makers use to get to reach the goals. The practical effect, indeed, will be to phase out most of the incandescent bulbs that we know. But in the coming years, you most likely will see manufacturers come out with next-generation, efficient incandescent bulbs. These may end up being a transitional technology that will not meet the standards in the later years of the phase-out, when light-emitting diodes become more economical, but manufacturers are confident these new standards are workable.

Sure, it’s easy (and fun) to rail against Congress. But the bright side of all those loopholes and compromises is that you will still be able to light your oven, freezer, outdoor walkway, and candelabra fixture with little upheaval, while saving kilowatts with more modern lighting in the rest of your home.

Light Bulbs and Dieting May 19, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in How to about lighting, light bulb, List Article, Uncategorized.
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Zoinks! Its me Dr Z! The Pharoah of Fluorescent loony for light bulbs. Did you know that using the right light bulb can help you if you are on a diet? Well I didn’t! Mr Y found this article when reading his favorite blog “chick chat” ( don’t ask)Check out the article below for how using the correct color of light can assist you in staying on your diet.

Get Lit Stay Lit

Dr Z


While interviewing color psychologist Steven Bleicher for today’s article on purple, Bleicher gave me an interesting diet tip. To help curb those frequent, mindless trips to the refrigerator, change the bulb in the fridge, he suggested.

“If you’re on a diet and you replace a white bulb with a blue bulb, the bulb changes the color of the foods and makes them look unappetizing,” said Bleicher.

“We relate the idea of blue and blue-green to mold and spoiled food,” he explained.

Because of this unconscious association, early humans avoided foods with blue pigments, so those foods slowly became extinct. That’s why today there are only a handful of blue foods founds in nature.

Bleicher, author of “Contemporary Color: Theory and Use” and a professor at Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach, S.C., said that there are colors that make diners eat more.

“Yellows and oranges and bright reds stimulate the appetite. They stimulate the adrenal gland, so you order more and eat it faster and that’s what they want,” said Bleicher, referring to fast-food restaurants and their countless red and yellow signs that dot the streets.

“Sixty percent of your decision to buy an object is based on a certain color. And you usually make that decision very fast in 90 seconds,” he added.

So if you want to lose weight, train your mind to ignore the goodies hidden behind the red and gold signs and instead opt for a blue plate special.


Just for Fun: Light Bulbs in Ancient Egypt part III May 18, 2009

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ancient egyptian pillars of light

ancient egyptian pillars of light

Zowie! The continued interested in ancient Egyptian Lightbulbs has inspired me (Dr. Z) to post yet another fact filled article on this mysterious subject.

Dr Z



The Denderah “Lightbulb”

Beneath the Temple of Hathor at Dendera there are inscriptions depicting a bulb-like object which some have suggested is reminiscent of a “Crookes tube” (an early lightbulb). Inside the “bulbs” a snake forms a wavy line from a lotus flower (the socket of the bulb). A “wire” leads to a small box on which the air god is kneeling. Beside the bulb stands a two-armed djed pillar, which is connected to the snake, and a baboon bearing two knives. In “The Eyes of the Sphinx”, Erich Von Daniken suggested that the snake represented the filament, the djed pillar was an insulator, and the tube was in fact an ancient electric light bulb. The baboon was apparently a warning that the device could be dangerous if not used correctly.



The crypts are generally considered to be store-rooms, and only a few are decorated. At the southern end of the temple there are five subterranean crypts. They were thought to house the most valuable of the temple statues and objects including the “ba” of Hathor, used during ritual processions at New Year. A gold statuette of Hathor sat within a large kiosk formed by four gold posts, a gold base and roof. Fine linen hung from copper rails between the posts, so that the goddess remained hidden. According to the texts written on the walls, we know that the kiosk consisted of a gold base surmounted by a gold roof supported by four gold posts, covered on all four sides by linen curtains hung from copper rods. The strange inscriptions are in the easternmost of the small chambers.

The temple is constructed of sandstone, but a large block of limestone had been installed in the wall as the surface for the carving. This indicates that the architects went to some effort to allow the production of fine quality carving.

We do not know the exact origin of the Djed pillar, but its hieroglyphic meaning (“enduring” or “stability” and sometimes “column”) is not doubted. There is no apparent connection between the concept of “enduring” and the process of insulating, but even if there was, the Djed wouldn´t work as an insulator. In a light bulb, the glass bulb itself insulates the filament, and no extra component is required.

The “cable” is described in the text beside the depiction as a symbolic sun barge moving across the sky (in a form which is by no means unique to these carvings). It seems to be a bit of a stretch to describe this as a cable, although I suppose you could argue that the movement of the sun mirrored the movement of electricity. However, the “cable” is attached to what proponents describe as a “socket”, but is in fact a lotus flower. This flower appears in this form all over Egypt, and is always a lotus flower. Furthermore, the text beside the depiction confirms that it is a lotus flower.

Unfortunately, it seems that modern eyes have seen what they want to see in an ancient scene without considering the text provided by the ancient people to explain exactly what they were doing.

In the carvings, Harsamtawy (a form of Horus known as Horus who joins the two lands), son of Hathor, takes the form of a serpent (although he also appears as a hawk). According to one myth, Horus sprung into existence out of a lotus flower which blossomed in the watery abyss of Nun at dawn at the beginning of every year. The “light-bulbs” are in fact lotus flower bulbs, mythologically giving birth to the snake. Another panel shows the bulb opening into a lotus blossom and the snake standing erect in the centre as a representation of the god Horus. On the southern wall of the last room, a falcon, preceded by a snake emerges from a lotus blossom within a boat.

Daumas has suggested that the sacred procession which was held on the eve of the first day of the New Year, began in these rooms. Thus the inscriptions represented the myth which was being celebrated. Of course, the myths have nothing to say regarding lightbulbs, and there is no evidence to substantiate their use from Egyptian remains or text. This is fairly damning as the building of huge stone monuments required the maintenance of detailed and thorough accounts, yet there is no record of any electric devices or the movement of raw materials to create them.

Some are still unwilling to entirely give up on the idea. Instead of claiming that the Egyptians used light bulbs under normal conditions, they suggest that the priests performed a ritual which created a small amount of light during the New Year celebrations. Proponents claim that the reliefs describe a three stage process; first the “bulb” is supported by a kneeling figure making three “waves” emanate from the serpent, then the “bulb” is supported by a Djed pillar making four “waves” emanate from the serpent, finally the “bulb” is placed against a vertical Djed pillar causing five “waves” to emanate from the serpents body. The waves are thought to be evidence of a vibratory process increasing in frequency as the scenes progress.

This is certainly a more creative theory which neatly avoids the lack of any supporting evidence by claiming that the ceremony was ritual and secret. The problem remains that all of the elements are known to have specific meanings from numerous other sources, and the text confirms those meanings. However, it is still possible that the priests encoded a deeper meaning in the text and images.

Big Advance in OLED Lighting Might Signal Beginning of the End for the Bulbs May 18, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product., LED Lights, light bulb, List Article.
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OLED Diagram

OLED Diagram


Gadzooks! The search for the perfect light source continues. OLEDs are they the future? Check out the posting below.

Dr. Z


P.S. I included a brief definition of OLEDs at the begining. Thanks to Wikipedia!

An organic light emitting diode (OLED), also light emitting polymer (LEP) and organic electro luminescence (OEL), is any light emitting diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer is composed of a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple “printing” process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors.

Such systems can be used in television screens, computer displays, small, portable system screens such as cell phones and PDAs, advertising, information and indication. OLEDs can also be used in light sources for general space illumination, and large-area light-emitting elements. OLEDs typically emit less light per area than inorganic solid-state based LEDs which are usually designed for use as point-light sources.

A significant benefit of OLED displays over traditional liquid crystal displays (LCDs) is that OLEDs do not require a backlight to function. Thus they draw far less power and, when powered from a battery, can operate longer on the same charge. Because there is no need for a backlight, an OLED display can be much thinner than an LCD panel. Degradation of OLED materials has limited their use so far.[1]


The up-and-coming electronics technology known as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) has spent the week in the, yes, spotlight. Earlier this week researchers announced that they had joined OLEDs to a rubbery conductor to make a computer display screen that could be bent, folded, and crumpled. Now, another team has tweaked OLEDs to make ultra-efficient panels that produce a white light similar to that produced by traditional incandescent light bulbs. Study coauthor Karl Leo says some big technical hurdles still need to be overcome, but adds: “I’m pretty convinced that in a few years OLEDs will be a standard in buildings” [BBC News].


Incandescent lighting is being phased out in some parts of the world because it isn’t energy efficient, and it’s being replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. But with both fluorescent and LED lighting, the quality of white light produced has always left something to be desired. Fluorescent lighting can make people appear unhealthy because less red light is emitted, while most white LEDs on the market today have a bluish quality, making them appear cold [Technology Review]. In contrast, OLEDs, which are made from organic compounds that emit light when electricity is passed through them, can provide a nice white light, but efficiency problems have held the technology back.

As the researchers explain in a paper in Nature, their modifications boosted OLED’s efficiency past that of traditional lighting sources. Their improved device yielded 90 lumens (a measurement of brightness) per watt of electricity consumed…. This compared to 15 lumens for a conventional incandescent light bulb and between 50 and 70 lumens per watt for modern compact fluorescent light bulbs [AFP]. They produced the efficiency gain with a series of technical adjustments. One trick was to make the outer surfaces of the device from types of glass that have optical properties that more closely match those of the device substrate. Otherwise, much of the emitted light is reflected and either reabsorbed or lost through heat. “In conventional structures, about 80 percent of the light is lost,” [Technology Review], says study coauthor Sebastian Reineke.

But the technology still faces several large obstacles:. Just like previous white OLEDs, the devices degrade within an hour or two, because the polymers that produce the blue part of the light are unstable. However, Professor Leo said that promising first results on stable, phosphorescent blue polymers are starting to emerge. “I’m personally convinced that it may take a few years, but chemists will solve this problem and find materials which are stable enough,” he said [BBC News]. OLEDs are also expensive to produce, but researchers hope that the material can soon be produced in large sheets, making it commercially viable.

Related Content:
Rubbery Computer Screens Can Be Bent, Folded, and Even Crumpled
DISCOVER: Future Tech shows why the light bulb is becoming as quaint as a vacuum tube

Image: F. Erler / N. Seidler

A ‘light bulb’ moment for people with dementia May 13, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Controversial information, light bulb, List Article.
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Zoinks! It’s me Dr. Z. Its seems that there new breakthoughs constantly happening in the world of lighting everyday! Check this exciting new article on the possibility that light can be a treatment for dementia!

Dr. Z


A ‘light bulb’ moment for people with dementia



ontact: Susan Griffith
Case Western Reserve University

CLEVELAND Change the lighting; improve your health. It’s a strategy researchers from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the School of Medicine, the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (GRECC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center and GE Consumer & Industrial have begun to test in a long-term care facility where daylight, which has proven health benefits, is not readily available.

The researchers removed some standard fluorescent lighting and installed new blue-white lamp prototypes developed by GE scientists at the company’s Nela Park campus.

Research team members hypothesize that periods of blue light, like daylight, can help regulate the sleep-wake rhythm, which is a behavioral pattern linked to the 24-hour biochemical circadian cycle of the hormone melatonin. Depending on the level of the hormone, people are awake or sleepy.

The researchers want to regulate the sleep-wake cycle by regulating the amount of exposure to blue-white (wakefulness) and yellow-white (sleepiness) light. By increasing exposure to blue-white light during the day and yellow-white light in the evening, researchers hope to help patients regulate their sleep-wake cycles so that they are more awake during the day and more asleep at night.

Patricia Higgins, associate professor at the Bolton School of Nursing and one of the lead investigators, says the project may prove to be especially beneficial for people suffering from dementia.

In a recently conducted pilot study with five male patients, each suffering from dementia and living in a long-term care facility, researchers installed the blue-white lights in an activities room where most residents gathered for meals and daytime activities.

“We wanted to see whether lighting could affect the participants’ sleep-wake rhythms,” says Higgins. “While the group was small, the results show promise in raising activity levels during daytime hours and increasing sleep at nighttime.”

The researchers plan a larger study with residents with dementia at two Northeast Ohio long-term care facilities. The study will include men and women to see if light impacts the genders differently. An unexpected side effect of the lighting is that once adjusted to the blue-white light, most employees reported that they liked the new lighting conditions.

For a number of decades it has been known that light affects how people feel. Those particularly sensitive to changes in light have benefited from a boost in the brightness of light sources. The new lighting used in the test changes the color without overpowering individuals with brightness, according to the researchers.

“Why waste light if you can tune it to the right color and maximize the amount of useful light,” says Mariana Figueiro, assistant professor at Rensselaer and program director at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center.”Light is a good stimulus for the circadian system, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles,” says Thomas Hornick, associate director at the GRECC at the Veterans Administration Hospital and associate professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He says it is known that certain drugs do better when given at the appropriate time in the circadian cycle.

As a safe, non-pharmacological intervention, researchers also hope to apply information from the study to changing the lighting in hospitals where patients may have a speedier recovery or improved quality of life with a good night’s rest.

“We’re innovators at heart,” says Mark Duffy, engineering and technology systems manager, GE Consumer & Industrial. “Our goal entering this collaboration was to apply the passion and inventiveness, which we bring to every customer need or application, to a project that has implications for society at large. We’re proud to be part of this effort.”

If changing the lighting works to improve health, the researchers plan to take what would be a natural next step: trying to influence public policy to include new lighting standards for healthcare facilities.




Visit http://www.case.edu/think/breakingnews/Lightbulb.html for further information.

To view and download broadcast ready clip, visit https://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=batch_download&send_id=684396834&email=c48cf48b16188976f1ff26fc7913442a. (The order of appearance is Patricia Higgins, associate professor of nursing, Case Western Reserve University; Mark Duffy, engineering and technology systems manager, GE Consumer & Industrial; and William W Beers, lead design engineer, GE Consumer & Industrial.)

Case Western Reserve University is among the nation’s leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.

GE Consumer & Industrial spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting and integrated industrial equipment, systems and services. Providing solutions for commercial, industrial and residential use in more than 100 countries, GE Consumer & Industrial uses innovative technologies and ecomaginationSM, a GE initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that help customers and consumers meet pressing environmental challenges, to deliver comfort, convenience and electrical protection and control. General Electric (NYSE: GE), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram, Profile, GE, Hotpoint, SmartWater, Reveal and Energy Smart consumer brands, and Entellisys, Tetra, Vio and Immersion commercial brands. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com.

The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center proudly serves 100,000 veterans throughout northeastern Ohio each year in its two medical centers and thirteen community-based outpatient clinics. The Cleveland VA is one of the most cost effective of the VA’s large teaching hospitals and leads the VA with seven Clinical Centers of Excellence in Open Heart Surgery, Substance Abuse, Care of the Seriously Mentally Ill, Medical Care of the Homeless, Domiciliary, Geriatric Evaluation and Management, and Spinal Cord Injury/Dysfunction Care. The Cleveland VA also leads the VA with two research centers of excellence. The Cleveland VA is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the first VA to receive Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification for Inpatient Diabetes.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world’s premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master’s programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. For more information, visit www.lrc.rpi.edu.

Zoinks!World’s Smallest Light Bulb Created! May 12, 2009

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lights for little people? Dr Z's Green team should be happy!

lights for little people? Dr Z's Green team should be happy!

Gadzooks it seems the news is alive with all sorts of exciting developments in the realm of lightbulbs! Here is an article about a group of researchers who have created the smallest light bulb in the world. Zoinks! Stay tuned for the worlds biggest light bulb coming next.

Dr. Z



Some bright researchers say they’ve created the world’s smallest incandescent lamp, so teeny it’s invisible except when lit.

The lamp’s filament is just 100 atoms wide. It is made from a single carbon nanotube.

When lit, the itty bitty bulb can be seen with the unaided eye as a point of light, the scientists say.

Thomas Edison’s light bulbs also used carbon filaments. But the new filament, created at UCLA, is 100,000 times narrower and 10,000 times shorter than those made by Edison.

But why?

The breakthrough comes at a time when inventors are moving away from incandescents, even looking beyond the green-leaning compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and trying to figure out how to make LED lights cheap enough to take over the job of lighting homes and offices.

So why does this miniscule feat matter?

The filament is big enough to apply the statistical assumptions of thermodynamics, which are longstanding rules about how stuff works when lots of particles are involved, the researchers explained. Yet it is also small enough to be considered molecular, meaning the laws of quantum mechanics — involving very few particles — apply.

Big picture

In lay terms, the invention is aimed at helping the scientists better understand how the physics of large things and the physics of invisible things are, perhaps, related. Or, as they put it:

“Our goal is to understand how Planck’s law gets modified at small length scales,” said Chris Regan, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the university. “Because both the topic (black-body radiation) and the size scale (nano) are on the boundary between the two theories, we think this is a very promising system to explore.”

If no lights went on for you there, be comforted by the thought that all this bears on the hoped-for “theory of everything” that, if discovered, would help explain gravity and how the universe works and also probably put a lot of physicists out of work.

The work, funded by the National Science Foundation, is explained in the May 5 in the online edition of the journal Physical Review Letters.