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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
Laying it on the line - SR
Laying it on the line SR
Incandescent, fluorescent, or neon lighting has limitations because of rigid tubes and bulbs. A new type of illumination uses electroluminescence transmitted through thin flexible cables. This method is similar to flat electroluminescent panels usually used as backlight illumination for liquid-crystal displays except the layers in the electroluminescent fibre are placed coaxially around a core electrode.
Developed by Elam Electroluminescent Industries Ltd in Jerusalem, these threadlike lamps contain a copper wire core. Sputtered around the core is a layer of electroluminescent phosphor particles, zinc sulphide doped with either copper or manganese. The outer layers include a transparent electrode and a protective cover.
Applying current from two AA batteries between the transparent coating and the core wire illuminates the particles. The light is emitted through the transparent electrode and insulating layers. As the fibre loses energy, it gradually fades, signalling replacement.
Other configurations include coiling or tying the fibres in knots or cutting them into 5cm to 10m lengths. Depending on the application, the fibres can simply plug into an outlet or operate with custom converters.
The ELF has a diameter between 0.5 to 2.5mm with a stretching force of 1kg for a 0.5mm copper core. It has a bending diameter of at least five times the fibre diameter, and a twisting angle of 30°/m. The fibres emit light in blue, green, white, red, pink, orange and yellow and are marketed in the USA by Live Wire Enterprises Inc., Brooklyn, NY.