A new laboratory record in LED white light production has been reached.

December 3, 2008–In the ongoing efficiency battle going on between the research labs of the leading high-power white-light LED makers, Cree (Durham, NC) has gained the highest ground, at least for now. The company just announced that it achieved an industry-best reported R&D result of 161 lumens per watt for a white-light power LED.
Cree’s tests confirmed that the 1 mm x 1 mm LED produced 173 lumens of light output and achieved its 161 lumens per watt efficacy at a color temperature of 4689 K. The tests were conducted under standard LED test conditions at a drive current of 350 mA, at room temperature. This level of performance is not yet available in production LEDs, says the company.
Such efficiency levels are about ten times that of a standard incandescent bulb, and at least twice that of compact fluorescent bulbs.

One of the things LED lights will give us as research turns into products is the ability to dial in color as well as intensity. Green light for the Christmas tree. Red light for the guy in the Santa suit. Blue light for those days when your mood needs calming.
Right now the prices for LED lights is rather high. About $70 to $120 for a 100 W (incandescent equivalent) light bulb. This is not too bad for places where changing light bulbs is expensive because LED lamps have lifetimes of 100,000 hours which is about 11 1/2 years of continuous use. By the time a lamp bought today needs changing they should cost a lot less.
Cross Posted at Power and Control