A company spun off from Wake Forest University that is using nanotechnology to create more efficient lighting has won a $2 million infusion from investors.
The money will allow PureLux to continue its efforts to develop the use of carbon nanotubes to produce heat-free light and sign on partners that will help get the company’s technology into the market, said David Carroll, chief scientist at PureLux and director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest, where the technology originated.
“These new investors are moving very rapidly toward a couple of partnership joint development opportunities, some of which are very deep-pocketed,” Carroll said, though he declined to identify the potential partners while negotiations are in progress. “They’re basically looking to emigrate PureLux technology into existing product lines.”
PureLux was founded in 2007, and its early sources of capital have included seed funding from Pennsylvania investment firm NanoHoldings and a $100,000 grant from the N.C. Green Business Fund.
PureLux won that state grant because its technology has the potential to make a significant dent in the amount of energy consumed by traditional incandescent bulbs, which make a lot of unnecessary and wasteful heat in addition to light. PureLux’s technology allows for bulbs that are about 10 times more efficient than incandescents.
Fluorescent lights and compact fluorescent bulbs are already widely available and are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. But PureLux says its technology is more efficient even than those. Where a good compact fluorescent bulb produces 60 “lumens” (a measure of brightness) per watt of electricity, PureLux says its technology can provide 120 lumens per watt.
The technology has a wide range of applications, from homes, offices and factories to backlighting for signs. Because it is lightweight and flexible and produces little or no heat, it is also well-suited for use in places like submarines or tanks, or in temporary structures.
The technology has been through extensive validation over the past two years, said PureLux President Ken Garcia, and the focus of development work right now is on further improving the efficiency of the lighting beyond the previously reported benchmarks.