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Future Lightbulb will be One Glowing Molecule

It's like there isn't any engineering problem that can't be solved with carbon nanotubes. Now, it turns out it can solve problems we didn’t even anticipate, like making the world’s smallest light bulb. It’s so small, it’s only a few molecules in size.

This tiny spark of light was brought to us by a collaboration of scientists from Switzerland, Poland and Germany. The nano-bulb consists of a special molecule trapped in the microscopic gap in a carbon nanotube. when current is applied to this molecular circuit, we get light.

Granted, it’s not efficient: the researchers reported one photon for every billion electrons, and they could barely pick it up on a scanning electron microscope. Still, it may help spur advances in opto-electronics. That, or better Tron suits. Either way, we win.

[source: Nature Magazine via Physorg and Popular Science]