Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fun Fact: Brighter and More Efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Can Lead to New Applications

Blue LED and ReflectionIn recent years, LEDs have become the new darling for the light bulb and other industries, including microplate readers. Being able to emit light at distinct or multiple wavelengths using much less energy than a typical light source, LEDs seem to have a bright future in illumination technology. However, LEDs work best at low power, suffering from a droop effect that greatly decreases their efficiency when more power is applied. This droop effect negatively impacts how bright an LED can become, thereby limiting their use.

 Investigating the reason for the LED droop effect, a team at the University of California in Santa Barbara have found a new way to form the material that make up LEDs. Gallium nitride was grown in a very specific crystalline orientation, which differed from the usual polar orientation. This different crystalline formation limited the secondary electric field that occurs when LEDs are supplied with too much current, thereby allowing the researchers to reach a greater output of light while maintaining the LEDs efficiency. This new material could open a whole new market for brighter, more efficient LEDs.

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