A new light bulb that's made using graphene will go on sale later this year, according to its developers—and it's said to be the first commercially viable consumer product to use the supermaterial.

The new bulb—developed by researchers at Manchester University where the material was discovered—uses a filament-shaped LED which is coated in graphene. The bulb, which is dimmable, is said to provide a brighter light than conventional LEDs, use up to 10 percent less energy and last longer, too. The Financial Times reports that the bulb could cost less than $20 when it goes on sale.


The bulb has been developed by a company called Graphene Lighting—of which Prof Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester, is a director. "People are amazed at just how quickly we have managed to take it to market," Bailey told the Financial Times. "Sometimes it takes 20 years to get a new discovery out there."

The UK's National Graphene Institute, situated at Manchester University and where Bailey is now based, was opened earlier this month. In a press release, Bailey explained:

This lightbulb shows that graphene products are becoming a reality, just a little more than a decade after it was first isolated – a very short time in scientific terms. This is just the start. Our partners are looking at a range of exciting applications, all of which started right here in Manchester.

It's still difficult to make graphene in large qualities, which make items that use it in bulk incredibly expensive. This new lightbulb uses a small quanitiy, making it economcial to produce. Exact technical details about the bulb remain under wraps, but the team behind it suggest that it will be one sale by the end of the year. [Financial Times]

Image by Manchester University