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Brighter LEDs Eyed for Homes

Photonics.com
Jan 2008
GLASGOW, Scotland, Jan. 9, 2008 -- Nanoimprint lithography techniques that increase the brightness of LEDs could enable the solid-state lighting to replace incandescent lightbulbs in homes within three years.

LEDs, currently used in electrical equipment such as computers and cell phones, are several times more energy efficient than standard lightbulbs. However, because of their structure and material, much of the light in standard LEDs becomes trapped, reducing their brightness and making them unsuitable as the main lighting source in the home.

Now a team of researchers in Europe believes it has found a way of introducing a new generation of LEDs that are brighter and use even less power than standard energy-efficient lightbulbs, making them practical for home use.

Faiz Rahman, PhD, the researcher leading the project at the University of Glasgow, said, “By making microscopic holes on the surface of the LEDs it is possible to extract more light, thus increasing the brightness of the lights without increasing the energy consumption. As yet, LEDs have not been introduced as the standard lighting in homes because the process of making the holes is very time consuming and expensive."
 
Rahman said the However, by using world-class facilities at the University of Glasgow we believe we have found a way of imprinting the holes into billions of LEDs at a far greater speed, but at a much lower cost.

“LEDs not only use less power than current energy efficient lightbulbs but they are much smaller and can last years without needing to be replaced. This means the days of the humble lightbulb could soon be over,” he said.

The team uses a technique called nanoimprint lithography to directly imprint the holes, imperceptible to the human eye, onto the LEDs allowing more of the light to escape.

The project is being developed in conjunction with the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, Mesophotonics Ltd., and Sharp Laboratories of Europe, as part of the BERR (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) Technology Programme.

For more information, visit: www.gla.ac.uk


GLOSSARY
light
Electromagnetic radiation detectable by the eye, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 750 nm. In photonic applications light can be considered to cover the nonvisible portion of the spectrum which includes the ultraviolet and the infrared.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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