Hunt: In using this particular type of cathode, I think at first people thought “this is yet another carbon cathode, so what” – the big difference is at Davis we've learned to change the surface that emits the electrons and changes it from a so-so emitting cathode to a really, extremely good emitting cathode.
Narrator: Hunt says they've done a few things to improve on the technology.
Hunt: One of the things that we have successfully discovered and patented here at UC Davis is a method for treating the surface so that we can get 10,000 hours of lifetime and actually much more than that. We are now targeting 30,000 hours of lifetime, so that we think we that we can get a lifetime that might be as much as three times as long as the best fluorescent bulbs.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.