Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a revolutionary lighting alternative that promises to be at least twice as efficient as fluorescent bulbs without the notorious buzzing and flicker plaguing offices across the country. The new bulbs are also free of toxic mercury vapour, shatterproof, and promise to solve world hunger. (Ok that last one might be stretching things.)

The technology is known as field-induced polymer electroluminescent, or FIPEL for short, and has been in development for over a decade now. Made from three layers of an engineered light-emitting polymer mixed with a nanomaterial that glows when a charge is applied, the material can be moulded into any shape—from regular bulbs, to two by four foot panels that could replace the long fluorescent tubes in overhead lighting.

The FIPEL technology also produces a perfectly white light akin to what the sun gives off, so it's claimed to be easier on the eyes than current lighting solutions like CFLs and LEDs. But when can we all get our hands on this wonderful technology? It turns out Wake Forest University is currently working with a company to get FIPEL-based bulbs to consumers as early as next year. So don't toss your fluorescents just yet. [Wake Forest University via Phys.org]