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Now from the Bostom Museum of Science, Sci-tech today on NECN



Building a better light bulb. Joining us now from the Museum of Science Boston is Nano technology expert Karine Tate. Good to have you with us, Karine.



Nice to be here, thank you.

So Watertown Massachusetts company that was started by some MIT scientists has come up with a new light bulb. Why the quest for a new light bulb?

Well, that’s a great question, Leslie. Many of our viewers may be surprised to learn that 22% of energy used in this country...oop...goes to lighting. So there are huge energy savings to be had just by making better light bulbs. And as anybody who has ever burned their hand changing a light bulb knows in an incandescent bulbs actually waste a lot of their energy through heat, so because of that consumers have been switching in recent years to compact fluorescent lights which are much more energy efficient. They use 70% less energy. They stay cool and they last a very long time, but they contain mercury which was a pollutant and people are turned off by that very harsh white light that they create.

So what are these new bulbs made of?

They are made of LED, light emitting diodes which produces a very nice bright light using 80% to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.They don’t contain any mercury and they can last 15 years.

Wow, alright, and how do they look?

Well that’s the problem. As they do create this quite harsh white light as well and this company QD Vision came up with the idea of using Nano technology to improve the color quality of the LED bulbs. They are using something called quantum dots.

All right and what exactly does the quantum dots do?

Well quantum dots don’t really act like a filter. A filter actually absorbs light energy so you  lose light making the light bulbs less efficient. Quantum dots do something different and I have a vial of quantum dots here. They are tiny nano crystals of semi-conductors that glow or give off a certain light when they are excited. Watch this. When we excite the quantum dots with a UV light you can see that they give off a certain color of light and the only difference between these three vials is the size of quantum dots they contain. The smallest crystals produce bluelight and the largest crystals produce red light. So QD Vision had the idea of using the quantum dots that produce this warm light to create an optic piece that fits over top the light bulb. And you can see the effect right here. This is my hand under the harsh light LED and this is my hand under the warm light created by the new nano tech enhanced bulb.

--You can really see the difference on that. --You can. --It is a warmer light. When are these thing gonna be available for people to buy?

Well these bulbs are coming on the market in the next month or two through nexes Lighting so consumers should keep their eye out for a warm but very expensive glow. As it’s typical of new technologies they are gonna start out pretty pricy but you make up for the upfront costs with longevity and lower energy costs over time. And consumers will see quantum dots have a lot of other uses in the next few years, not just in lighting but also in improving the color quality of television and computer displays as well.

Do you think that this is gonna be the new lightbulb in the future that everybody is gonna have?

Indeed, they are make up a small percentage of market now but everyone in the industries is really expecting it to grow exponentially in the next few years as they become cheaper.



All right, Karine Tate, Nano technology expert joining us from the Museum of Science this morning, thank you.



Thank you, thanks to talk to you Lesley.



And for more on what's happening this week at the Museum of Science, check out their website, MOS.ORG
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