July 28, 2008

Cheaper white LEDs on deck

The main hurdle to replacing incandescent lights with much more efficient light-emitting diodes is lowering the cost. Researchers have been looking to silicon for a solution. A method for making gallium nitride LEDs on silicon wafers rather than sapphire is a significant step toward affordable solid-state lighting.

The process involves forming a reflective layer of zirconium nitride on silicon, covering it with aluminum nitride and topping it off with the light-emitting gallium nitride. This opens the way to making many white LEDs at once on the silicon wafers used to make computer chips.

Research paper:
Organometallic Vapor Phase Epitaxial Growth of GaN on ZrN/AlN/Si Substrates
Applied Physics Letters, published online July 16, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Timothy D. Sands
Eric A. Stach

Related stories and briefs:
Lens boosts LED efficiency -- a different way to improve LEDs

Further info:
Department of Energy solid-state lighting page

Back to ERN July 28/August 4, 2008



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