From light bulb moments to LEDs
Such is their versatility, PGMs are also used to make crucibles – they provide the necessary high melting point, mechanical strength and resistance to chemical attack. Crucibles are cylindrical utensils for growing a variety of crystals by pulling a single crystal from a pool of molten salts. There are five main types of crystal grown using crucibles, with applications ranging from lasers to electronic components.
In fact, iridium crucibles are used to grow sapphire crystals to make light-emitting diodes (LEDs), tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electric circuit. LEDs have no filament and last far longer than ordinary incandescent bulbs, which ‘burn out’ in months rather than years.
LED light bulbs have enabled many new technological advances over the last twenty years including backlighting for mobile phone displays and flat screen televisions.