Graphene pioneer Sir Kostya Novoselov (left) and British chancellor George Osborne (right) examine a graphene light bulb prototype.

Graphene is a material with marvelous properties: It can be used to make square ice and night vision contact lenses. It can even be made from your leftover dinner. And soon this form of pure carbon--which boasts a super-strong hexagonal structure at just a single atom thick--may even light your home.

Researchers at the National Graphene Institute, based at the U.K.'s University of Manchester, have now created light bulbs using the innovative substance, and they plan to bring them to market in the near future.

Instead of running current through the traditional tungsten filament found in an incandescent bulb, this newly developed method instead uses a graphene-coated LED shaped into a filament to provide light. According to the bulb's creators, the graphene bulb--which will also be dimmable--could be up to 10 percent more efficient than traditional LED lights, thanks to the substance's excellent conductivity. It's expected to be priced competitively to current LED models when it goes on sale later this year.

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