Aluminum foil lamps: Lighter, brighter, cooler

Researchers create aluminum foil lighting to save energy, space.

How aluminum foil lighting works University of Illinois

Researchers at the University of Illinois got a bright idea. They developed a form of lighting that's more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. And it's lighter and thinner than current fluorescent lights, which require a ballast and glass tubes. The diagram above shows how the researchers' aluminum foil-based "microcavity" plasma system works to produce light.

New foil lighting system University of Illinois

The researchers say their lighting system would look like a luminous, flat screen that could hang on walls in residential and commercial locations. The technology would even allow for curved and flexible versions of the lights, which could fit a wide variety of surfaces. And by varying the gases in the system, different colors of light would be emitted.

The foil lighting system, even coated with thin protective glass or a clear polymer, would be less than .04 inches thick, so you could hang these lights almost anywhere. Couple that with Microsoft's new table-top computer and you'll add a whole new look to your technie decor. Flat-screen lights wrapped around a door, computer screens you can put your beer on, flexible keyboards--the future could look very different.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET


Find Your Tech Type

Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!