This product just got UL approval, expect it to show up for retail sales soon. What’s an ESL? Think of it as an unfocused Cathode Ray Tube or CRT. The definition at Wikipedia is: Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) is light produced by accelerated electrons hitting a phosphor (fluorescent) surface in a process known as cathodoluminescence.The light generation process is similar to a cathode ray tube (CRT) but lacks magnetic or electrostatic deflection.
Just wait, somebody will figure out a yoke coil for these bad boys and a way to hack the power supply to modulate video and we’ll have little live video pictures of the sun or some other star on the phosphor screens. Or, we’ll all get to claim we have miniature particle accelerators in our ceiling. Amuse your guests with a a Geiger counter capable of recording Beta and X-rays. Don’t freak out though, we’ve been doing the same thing for half a century with bigger, badder CRT’s in TV sets. Beats having a mercury hazard around.
From the company website: Electron Stimulated Luminescence™ Lighting Technology
Electron Stimulated Luminescence™ (ESL) Lighting Technology is an entirely new, energy efficient lighting technology. It uses accelerated electrons to stimulate phosphor to create light, making the surface of the bulb “glow”. ESL technology creates the same light quality as an incandescent but is up to 70% more energy efficient, lasting up to 5 times longer than incandescent and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There is no use of the neurotoxin Mercury (Hg) in the lighting process.
With this technology, Vu1 has developed its first light bulb that received UL certification in October 2010: the R30 ESL bulb is specifically designed to replace the 65W incandescent R30 flood bulb is recessed light fixtures and the light quality is virtually indistinguishable from this traditional lamp it replaces and, unlike CFLs, is mercury-free.
In addition to the R30, the company is currently developing a variety of highly energy efficient, optimal light quality mercury-free light bulbs. In 2011 and 2012, Vu1 plans to introduce the classic A-type lamp for US and European consumers, the R40 for the US commercial market and the R25 in Europe.
Proven & Safe
In creating ESL Technology, Vu1 merged several existing and proven technologies then uniquely adapted them for “lighting”. The company uses commonly sourced, non-hazardous, commercial materials that are customized to our specifications.
Safe as a lighting source, the ESL technology fits neatly into classic light bulb shapes similar to those familiar to consumers everywhere. This eliminates the need to bend the technology into an unusual, twisted spiral shape (CFL) or have costly and heavy heat dissipation designed into the bulb housing (LED).
Key features of the technology and associated manufacturing processes are patent pending.
Vu1 operates a wholly-owned manufacturing subsidiary, Sendio s.r.o., in the Czech Republic. This enables the company to manufacture its products directly to protect the company’s intellectual property while maintaining close control over the quality, volume and distribution of initial product production.
The 75,000 square foot facility provides Vu1 with scalable production capability. The site’s initial production capacity is up to 6.8 million bulbs annually with a planned future capacity of 30 million bulbs annually. Vu1 employs a highly skilled team that has been trained at leading manufacturers such as Philips and Sony. The facility is centrally located, enabling efficient worldwide distribution.
Spec sheet here (PDF)
Once China gets a hold on these, the price is likely to come way down. Right now they are selling at $20.
h/t to Alan