Quantum dot white LEDs achieve record efficiency

Researchers created nanomaterial-based white LEDs that exhibit a record high-efficiency thanks to quantum dots that are suspended in solution rather than embedded in a solid. The new LEDs could offer an energy-efficient lighting source for homes, offices, and televisions. Credit: Sedat Nizamoglu, Koç University

Researchers have demonstrated nanomaterial-based white-light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that exhibit a record luminous efficiency of 105 lumens per watt. Luminous efficiency is a measure of how well a light source uses power to generate light. With further development, the new LEDs could reach efficiencies of over 200 lumens per watt, making them a promising energy-efficient lighting source for homes, offices, and televisions.

“Efficient LEDs have strong potential for saving energy and protecting the environment,” said research leader Sedat Nizamoglu, Koç University, Turkey. “Replacing conventional lighting sources with LEDs with an efficiency of 200 lumens per watt would decrease the global electricity consumed for lighting by more than half. That reduction is equal to the electricity created by 230 typical 500-megawatt coal plants and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 200 million tons.”

The researchers describe how they created the high-efficiency white LEDs in Optica, The Optical Society’s journal for high impact research. The new LEDs use commercially available blue LEDs combined with flexible lenses filled with a solution of nano-sized semiconductor particles called quantum dots. Light from the blue LED causes the quantum dots to emit green and red, which combines with the blue emission to create white light.

“Our new LEDs reached a higher efficiency level than other quantum dot-based white LEDs,” said Nizamoglu. “The synthesis and fabrication methods for making the quantum dots and the new LEDs are easy, inexpensive and applicable for mass production.”

Advantages of quantum dots

To create white light with today’s LEDs, blue and yellow light are combined by adding a yellowish phosphor-based coating to blue LEDs. Because phosphors have a broad emission range, from blue to red, it is difficult to sensitively tune the properties of the generated white light.

Unlike phosphors, quantum dots generate pure colors because they emit only in a narrow portion of the spectrum. This narrow emission makes it possible to create high-quality white light with precise color temperatures and optical properties by combining quantum dots that generate different colors with a blue LED. Quantum dots also bring the advantage of being easy to make and the color of their emission can be easily changed by increasing the size of the semiconductor particle. Moreover, quantum dots can be advantageously used to generate warm white light sources like incandescent light bulbs or cool white sources like typical fluorescent lamps by changing the concentration of incorporated quantum dots.

Read more: Quantum dot white LEDs achieve record efficiency

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