August 10, 2006

Electroluminescent lamps

Elumin8 technology consists of applying electricity to copper dipped in zinc sulfate ink, which then emits light. This is applied using a silkscreen process to an indium tin oxide–splattered substrate. In essence, a LEC, or light emitting capacitor, is created.

The light emitted is cold, since the medium it is applied to is typically thin, such as a polyester substrate. This substrate is flexible and can be fabricated into complex shapes. The light is emitted in a uniform fashion across a given surface up to an area of approximately 3.5m2. No ultraviolet rays are emitted.

Electroluminescent lights are driven by an alternating electric field. When alternating current is applied to the ink, the electrons within the phosphor ink are excited by the intense electric field and become highly energized. This phenomenon is known as excitation. Light is emitted once the excited electrons return to a stable state. As excitation takes place whenever the direction of the electron field changes, light is emitted twice per cycle when alternating current is applied.

Standard EL lamps diminish in intensity over time and have a half-life (to fifty percent of luminosity) of approximately 3,500 hours of continuous use. The higher the current, the earlier that half-life is reached. A four hundred hertz input is more than sufficient for most uses. Elumin8 has developed new phosphors and drivers that can significantly increase the half-life of lamps.

Contact: Elumin8 Systems Ltd., Dorset, UK.

For more information, see Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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