The Never-Ending Light Bulb
The headline might be a slight exaggeration. But only slight:
Ceravision has just announced that they have developed a lightbulb that is 50% efficient (more than twice the efficiency of CFLs) and will last...um...forever?
No, that can't be right, but a very very long time anyhow. They say they expect their new lamp to outlast whatever device they put it in, so apparently your lamp will break before the bulb does.
So can the never-ending lamp be far behind? So how, exactly, does this thing work?
The device doesn't use any fascinating new technology, which is really good news as it can be built from parts already in mass production. It's a new sort of metal halide lamp (a tube of gas inside a lump of a metal oxide.) When the lamp is put in the presence of a microwave emitter (just like the one in your kitchen, but much smaller) a concentrated electric field forms in the tube of gas which promptly turns into plasma. More than 50% of the energy is emitted as light, which is 2x more than ordinary metal halide lamps, and four times more than ordinary fluorescents.