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B. Developing a New Type of Fluorescent Light Bulb

Narrator: This is Science Today. As the power crisis continues to affect California and threatens to spread far beyond the Golden State this summer, conserving energy has become more of a concern. One way to conserve is by using energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs in place of regular, incandescent bulbs. Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have been working on a new type of fluorescent light bulb. Team leader Marion Scott explains.

Scott: The primary difference between the conventional fluorescent light bulb and the new one is the conventional light bulb involves the use of mercury. In the new light bulb that we're talking about, there's no mercury inside. In fact, there's no gas inside at all. It's just a fiber, which is emitting electrons.

Narrator: And Scott says the lifetime of conventional bulbs is usually determined by how much degradation takes place by gas generated ions.

Scott: The new bulb would have no gas, no ions and so no degradation of the cathode from that mechanism.

Narrator: Since this technology is still in the research stages, it may take a while for this new fluorescent light bulb to 'come to light'. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.