LEDs are great. They’re bright and last forever. But are they ready to replace light bulbs?
Last year we tried to come up with an economical way to put LED lights into fixtures for a designer but there really wasn’t much out there that fit into a good budget. There’s a ton of products out there for LED lighting but so far none have seemed to provide enough illumination at a price that can compete with incandescent or compact fluorescent. What is more, LEDs require pretty advanced circuitry to dim them and they require expensive power supplies. Though we might have missed something, LED lighting as a practical solution seemed a few years away.
This article in the Economist provides a glimpse into how LEDs work and what the future of LED lighting may be. It details some new developments in production methods of LEDs which could lead to significant cost reductions. Most significantly it tells about a new process which can replace the (expensive) sapphire substrates with (cheaper) silicon ones.