Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method for manufacturing green-colored LEDs with greatly enhanced light output.
The research team, led by Christian Wetzel, professor of physics and the Wellfleet Constellation Professor of Future Chips at Rensselaer, etched a nanoscale pattern at the interface between the LED’s sapphire base and the layer of gallium nitride (GaN) that gives the LED its green color. Overall, the new technique results in green LEDs with significant enhancements in light extraction, internal efficiency, and light output.
The discovery brings Wetzel one step closer to his goal of developing a high-performance, low-cost green LED.
“Green LEDs are proving much more challenging to create than academia and industry ever imagined,” Wetzel said. “Every computer monitor and television produces its picture by using red, blue, and green. We already have powerful, inexpensive red and blue LEDs. Once we develop a similar green LED, it should lead to a new generation of high-performance, energy-efficient display and illumination devices. This new research finding is an important step in the right direction.”
Sapphire is among the least expensive and widely used substrate materials for manufacturing LEDs, so Wetzel’s discovery could hold important implications for the rapidly growing, fast-changing LED industry. He said this new method should also be able to increase the light output of red and blue LEDs.
Results of the study, titled “Defect-reduced green GaInN/GaN light-emitting diode on nanopatterned sapphire,” were published last week in the journal Applied Physics Letters, and are featured in today’s issue of the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology, published by the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society. The paper may be viewed online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3579255
The research program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Solid-State Lighting Contract of Directed Research, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC), which is led by Rensselaer.
LED lighting only requires a fraction of the energy required by conventional light bulbs, and LEDs contain none of the toxic heavy metals used in the newer compact fluorescent light bulbs. In general, LEDs are very durable and long-lived.
First discovered in the 1920s, LEDs – light-emitting diodes – are semiconductors that convert electricity into light. When switched on, swarms of electrons pass through the semiconductor material and fall from an area with surplus electrons into an area with a shortage of electrons. As they fall, the electrons jump to a lower orbital and release small amounts of energy. This energy is realized as photons – the most basic unit of light. Unlike conventional light bulbs, LEDs produce almost no heat.
The color of light produced by LEDs depends on the type of semiconductor material it contains. The first LEDs were red, and not long thereafter researchers tweaked their formula and developed some that produced orange light. Years later came blue LEDs, which are frequently used today as blue light sources in mobile phones, CD players, laptop computers, and other electronic devices.
The holy grail of solid-state lighting, however, is a true white LED, Wetzel said. The white LEDs commonly used in novelty lighting applications, such as key chains, auto headlights, and grocery freezers, are actually blue LEDs coated with yellow phosphorus – which adds a step to the manufacturing process and also results in a faux-white illumination with a noticeable bluish tint.
The key to true white LEDs, Wetzel said, is all about green. High-performance red LEDs and blue LEDs exist. Pairing them with a comparable green LED should allow devices to produce every color visible to the human eye – including true white, Wetzel said. Today’s computer monitor and television produces its picture by using red, blue, and green. This means developing a high-performance green LED could therefore likely lead to a new generation of high-performance, energy-efficient display devices.
The problem, however, is that green LEDs are much more difficult to create than anyone anticipated. Wetzel and his research team and investigating how to “close the green gap,” and develop green LEDs that are as powerful as their red or blue counterparts.
Michael Mullaney | EurekAlert!
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences