Most of us know the benefits of using compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of traditional, less-efficient incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescents last up to 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use far less energy, making them the right choice for the earth and your pocketbook.
Compact fluorescents work by passing a current through a tube filled with a trace amount of mercury and argon gas, an inert, colourless, odourless and nontoxic gas. If you’ve ever purchased windows, you know the benefits of argon gas: reduced heat loss in winter and decreased heat gain in summer.
When I was a kid I thought argon gas was some sort of Superman-strength fume that protected against, I don’t even know, aliens? Turns out I was partly right; the gas does have superhero strength, as in light force.
Luxim, a company that specializes in developing high-efficiency lighting, recently revealed its newest project: a Tic-Tac-sized bulb that gives off as much light as a street lamp but is ultra-efficient thanks to, you guessed it, argon gas, as well as a component called a “puck.” When electrical energy is delivered to the puck, the puck acts like an electrical lens, heating up the argon to a temperature of 6000 degrees Kelvin, and turning the gas into a plasma that gives off light.
Conventional light bulbs and high-end LEDs get around 15 and 70 lumens per watt, respectively. By comparison, the plasma bulb uses 250 watts, and achieves around 140 lumens per watt, making it incredibly bright and highly efficient in its light distribution.
So while you might not need such bright lighting in your home, this tiny bulb offers a brilliant glimpse into the future.