Cafe Sci: “Solid-State Lighting: Energy-Efficient Alternative?”

March 11, 2015

Solid-State Lighting: Energy-Efficient Alternative?

Professor Robert F. Davis

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University

In the future, when we flip a light switch, could it turn on a solid-state light, rather than an incandescent or fluorescent bulb?

Incandescent and fuel-based lamps convert less than 5 perfect of the energy they consume into visible light; the remainder emerges as heat. Fluorescent lamps achieve a conversion efficiency of about 30 percent. Each is an engine for converting the earth’s energy resources mostly into waste heat, pollution, and greenhouse gases. The increasingly precious energy resources and the significant threat of climate change demand that we reduce the energy and environmental cost of artificial lighting.

Solid-state lighting is the direct conversion of electricity to visible white light using semiconductor materials and light emitting diodes. It has the potential to be the much-needed energy efficient technology of the future. Currently being tested in some environments, solid-state lighting needs more research, engineering, and technological development to increase efficiency, lower its heat generation, and achieve a light color that’s accurate and pleasing to the human eye.

Robert F. Davis is John and Clare Bertucci Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His research interests include: growth and characterization of wide band gap semiconductor thin films and devices; growth and characterization of chemical sensors; and atomic layer deposition of inorganic materials. He has edited or co-edited seven books, authored or co-authored more than 270 chapters in edited proceedings or in books, published more than 400 peer reviewed papers in archival Journals and given more than 170 invited presentations.

Recorded Monday, March 9th 2015 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA