Soon, There Could Be Light Bulbs That Recycle Their Own Heat
A team of researchers from MIT announced Monday that they have developed a novel method to make conventional incandescent lights far more energy efficient. Incandescents, the ones with the white hot filament in the middle, are notorious energy hogs because they generate massive amounts of waste heat in addition to light.
The MIT team, which published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology, wrapped the filament of their bulb in a new kind of crystalline filter that allows visible light to escape but reflects infrared light back towards the filament. Reflecting these IR wavelengths back to the filament keep it hotter (and therefore burning brighter) while consuming less electrical energy. The bulb is only at the proof-of-concept stage right now but the prototype reportedly is already roughly as efficient as many of the CFL and LED selections currently on the market.