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New LED without rare earth metal

11.03.2014

Researchers at the University of Bremen have developed a simple method for producing zinc oxide (ZnO) nan-owires. The ZnO nanowires provide the basis for a new generation of environmentally friendly LEDs with im-proved properties. A simple way of describing this production method would be as a baking recipe: salts and water are mixed, put into a pressure tank and placed in an oven for several hours. By altering the temperature during the production process, different conductivities (n- and p-conducting) can be embossed to the individual nanowires and different light spectra can be defined by combining them with each other. The production of conventional LEDs based on gallium compounds is harmful to health and calls for huge technical effort. Zinc oxide can be produced in large quantities in an easy, cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. It comprises efficient light-matter interaction and is transparent across almost the entire spectral range. The new LEDs have the innate potential to produce white light. Emissions in the UV range are also possible. A prototype of the ZnO nanowire LED has been tested successfully in the laboratory. A development or cooperation partner is now being sought.

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