Looks like lightbulbs are about to come full circle. Researchers at MIT have discovered a process to "recycle light" by preventing the energy from escaping through an incandescent bulb's glass and into the air in the form of heat.
By using a glass with a special crystal structure, none of the energy escapes as heat, and is instead redirected back to the filament to create more light. Traditional lightbulbs have an efficiency of 5%, LEDs 14%, and the researchers estimate this new process could make a bulb that's 40% efficient. And as a bonus, they would still have the warm light of incandescent bulbs.
"This experimental device is a proof-of-concept, at the low end of performance that could be ultimately achieved by this approach," said principal research scientist Ivan Celanovic.