Science Plumbs Secrets of Light to Unlock Better Clean Energy

Pushing against the receding darkness of basic science, researchers are looking at the physics behind capturing and producing light—work that could illuminate breakthroughs in clean energy.
In the fight against climate change, governments and private companies are focusing much of their attention on engineering devices like light bulbs and solar cells, chasing single-percentage-point efficiency gains.
These marginal improvements could have major effects: The United Nations Environment Program estimated that 19 percent of the world’s electricity goes toward lighting. That accounts for up to 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.