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Studying fireflies could lead to brighter LED lights

Fireflies are among the most unique insects on the planet, capable of producing their own sources of light. The insects, which have been popular among children and scientists for years, could soon be contributing to the LED lighting industry. According to NBC News, researchers studying the insects have come up with a theory inspired by fireflies that could soon result in brighter LED lights.

The secret to brighter LED bulb types lies in the scales of fireflies, Gizmag reports. More specifically, the Photuris firefly has unique characteristics that have helped researchers think outside the box regarding LED lights. The jagged scales in the cuticle of the exoskeleton of the Photuris firefly possess optical qualities that boost the amount of light that shines through.

Scientists at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada installed a light-sensitive material on a standard gallium nitride LED bulb type. They then used lasers to etch a profile similar to the jagged edges of the fireflies onto the coating. The bulb proceeded to emit approximately 55 percent more light.

"We don't have to create new LEDs," Annick Bay, a Ph.D. student at the University of Namur in Belgium, told the news source. "With a few more steps we can coat and laser pattern an existing LED. The most important aspect of this work is that it shows how much we can learn by carefully observing nature."

The project is still in a very preliminary stage with no real plans to go mainstream with the development of brighter LED lights as of yet. However, the news source notes that with some achievable modifications to current manufacturing techniques, these design enhancements could help improve LED lights production within the next few years.