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Nanoscale incandescent lamp developed by researchers

It is described by a group of scientists at Rice University as the smallest light bulb in the world. This new study, published in Advanced Materials, could simplify various areas such as photonics, and it might also be useful to develop new electronic platforms that are not based on silicon.

Researchers at the School of Engineering have created new types of “selective thermal emitters”, i.e. nanometric materials that can absorb heat and emit light. They use carbon nanotubes to channel the heat generated by medium infrared radiation.

This is a highly configurable system, and it is precisely this that is useful in various sectors, including those related to systems based on solar energy. According to Gururaj Naik, a researcher at Rice who is working on these studies, what they have created is essentially an incandescent lamp similar to the filament found in incandescent bulbs, but in the nanometer range: “Our goal was to build a nanoscale thermal light source with certain properties, such as emission at a certain wavelength or emission of extremely bright or new thermal light states.”

The same researcher points out that despite the diffusion of LED lights, which are certainly more efficient, incandescent lamps are still the only viable way to produce infrared light so efficiently: “What we have created is a new way to build light sources that are bright and directed and emit light in certain states and wavelengths, including infrared,” notes Naik.

The full press release can be found on the Rice University website.

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Kelly Owen