Jan 12, 2016 08:59 PM EST
A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an incandescent lightbulb that recycles its own heat to continue on providing light. This development should allow lightbulbs to produce light while consuming significantly less energy.
The MIT scientists claim that they installed a special filter covering the filament of the lightbulb. As of this writing, this light-recycling bulb is still on its proof-of-concept phase. The special filter traps the wavelengths at the infrared part of the spectrum (the heat-producing part), and all the while allowing light waves to pass through.
This will help the heat in keeping the filament hot and produce light, making the incandescent bulb run on lesser power. It is estimated that the self-powering lightbulb uses the same amount of power as a fluorescent bulb and in some scenarios have the same power consumption as the light-emitting diode (LED).
The self-powering mechanic on lightbulbs is not necessarily a new development. Halogen bulbs have the same feature set as this MIT-made lightbulb. In halogen bulbs, the filament is filled with gases. These gases help recycle burned up tungsten back to the filament to produce light, making the bulb partially self-powering and significantly power efficient.
The lightbulb is considered an "obsolete" technology in today's standard because it has been replaced largely by energy-saving fluorescent lights. The lightbulb's feature set has been relatively unchanged since the 19th century. The lightbulb still has carved a niche in the industrial and rural settings. A lot of countries are mandating the phasing out of lightbulbs of their specific variants like the United Kingdom, European Union territories and the United States.
'LEDs are great things, and people should be buying them but understanding these basic properties' about the way light, heat, and matter interact and how the light's energy can be more efficiently harnessed 'is very important to a wide variety of things,' an MIT team member, Professor Marin Soljačić, said.