Rensselaer researchers aim to close LED "green gap"

Aug. 29, 2006
August 29, 2006, Troy, NY--A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received $1.8 million in federal funding to improve the energy efficiency of green light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

August 29, 2006, Troy, NY--A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received $1.8 million in federal funding to improve the energy efficiency of green light-emitting diodes (LEDs). As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) solid-state-lighting program, the team aims to close the "green gap" in LED technology by doubling or tripling the power output of green LEDs in three years, an advance that ultimately could lead to the replacement of incandescent and fluorescent lamps in general-illumination applications.

"Making lighting more efficient is one of the biggest challenges we face," says Christian Wetzel, the Wellfleet Career Development Constellation Professor, Future Chips, and associate professor of physics at Rensselaer. "Substantial reductions in the nation's dependence on primary energy imports will be possible once highly efficient solid-state light sources replace wasteful incandescent and fluorescent lighting."

Wetzel will be leading a team of scientists and engineers attempting to help meet the aggressive performance targets laid out in DOE's solid-state lighting accelerated roadmap, which calls for the development by 2025 of advanced solid-state-lighting technologies that are much more energy-efficient, longer-lasting, and cost-competitive than conventional lighting technologies.

The prime contender to meet this goal, according to Wetzel, is a white-light unit made from a combination of high-performance red, blue, and green LEDs. Researchers have made major strides in advancing the design of red and blue LEDs, but the technology behind green LEDs has lagged behind substantially, he says.

Green light is an essential piece of the puzzle because it addresses the peak of the human eye's sensitivity, as well as providing balance to the colors of red and blue light. Although green LEDs can be created by simply adding indium to the gallium nitride materials that compose blue LEDs, green LEDs produced to date have been inefficient, and are less than optimum for lighting homes and offices.

"The indium segregates under certain conditions, clustering in areas where there are already defects in the material," Wetzel says. A correlation between the indium clustering and the limited device performance has been proposed, but Wetzel suggests that this may just be a coincidence.

He plans to focus instead on aspects of the piezoelectric effect--a property of some materials that causes them to produce an electrical field when pressure is applied. By controlling this effect, he and his colleagues hope to develop a process to make higher-intensity green LEDs that convert electricity into light more efficiently.

Wetzel will be collaborating with co-principal investigator E. Fred Schubert, the Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor of the Future Chips Constellation at Rensselaer, as well as Theeradetch Detchprohm, a research associate in Wetzel's lab, and four Rensselaer graduate students: Yong Xia, Wei Zhao, Yufeng Li, and Mingwei Zhu.

The team will be partnering with Kyma Technologies (Raleigh, NC), a developer of gallium nitride substrates and related products and services to the nitride semiconductor device market; and Crystal IS (Green Island, NY), a maker of single-crystal aluminum nitride substrates for the production of optoelectronic devices such as blue UV lasers.

The research was one of 16 projects selected for funding through DOE's Solid-State Lighting Core Technologies Funding Opportunity Announcement, which seeks to support multiple enabling or fundamental solid-state lighting technology areas for general illumination applications. The selections are expected to fill key technology gaps, provide enabling knowledge or data, and represent a significant advancement in the solid-state lighting technology base, according to DOE.

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!