Take an LED that produces intense, blue light. Coat it with a thin layer of special microscopic beads called quantum dots. And you have what could become the successor to the venerable light bulb. Chemists at Vanderbilt University have discovered a way to make quantum dots spontaneously produce broad-spectrum white light. In recent years LED's have begun to appear on the market that replace conventional light bulbs, but they have been quite expensive. They are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, last much longer and are very tough. An accidental discovery could transform lighting production into a primarily chemical process with accompanying economies. The easily produced quantum dots are mixed with a coating material, polyurethane, in the lab experiment, and coated on an inexpensive LED to make it a full spectrum light source.
And so esoteric quantum dots could become part of a mainstream commodity.
Resource: "Quantum dots that produce white light could be the light bulb's successor", PhysOrg.com, October 20, 2005