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    Advanced Optical Coatings Enable Energy-Efficient Lighting

    By Deposition Sciences, Inc. (DSI)

    Worldwide electricity demand increased dramatically over the last 20 years, and demand is forecasted to double over the next 20. Factors contributing to this growth include an expanding global population, continued growth in the Asian economy, and even climate change (global warming). Scientists predict severe consequences if this demand for electricity is not curtailed.

    According to the International Energy Agency, lighting accounts for 19% of worldwide electricity consumption. In the United States alone, lighting consumes 750 terawatt hours of energy and releases 1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Of those annual U.S. totals, 300 terrawatt hours of electricity and 500 billion pounds of carbon dioxide gas can be directly attributed to home lighting.

    There is no question that lighting is a major consumer of electricity, and more efficient lighting is needed to preserve our quality of life in the years ahead. Conventional wisdom may assert that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the best alternative to inefficient incandescent lamps, and technologists may believe that the light-emitting diode (LED) will ultimately replace the incandescent. However, the CFL does have its detractors, mainly because of the following factors: CFLs appear to have low light output, they are incompatible with many household fixtures, they have a tendency to fail early due to heat buildup that occurs when used in multiple socket fixtures, and they contain toxic mercury. As for LEDs, cost-effective LED lights that can retrofit into existing fixtures are still a long way off.

    Energy-efficient halogen lamps offer an alternative approach to home lighting. The key to energy-efficient halogen is a hot-mirror coating that allows wasted heat produced by the filament of a halogen lamp to be recycled, thus reducing the amount of electricity required to produce the desired light output. This article examines the use of optical coatings to achieve this goal.

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