Discovery of New Structure for Phosphors Points to More Efficient White LEDs

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers have discovered new, crystallographic phases of tungstate- and molybdate-based inorganic phosphors. With these newly discovered crystal structures, the phosphors can be excited by regular blue and near-ultraviolet (UV) commercial light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The findings were made by researchers at the National Science Foundation-funded Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications ERC (LESA), which is headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Impact/benefits: 

The discovery makes it possible to more efficiently produce what’s known as “narrow line red emission” from the phosphors. Narrow line or narrow band red emission is critical to making warm, white-light LEDs; the researchers’ work opens a new approach to development of LED components that can replicate the entire visible light spectrum.

Explanation/Background: 

Researchers have known about these classes of phosphor compounds for decades. But it had previously required the use of deep ultraviolet radiation to produce narrow line red emissions from them. In developing new phosphor materials and fabrication methods, the work broadens researchers’ ability to engineer and manufacture a wider variety of LEDs.

Among other recognition, the work was featured on the cover page of the Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Luminescence and Its Applications, held in Hyderabad, India, in 2012.  

With LED lights that can efficiently cover the entire visible light spectrum, innovative applications will be possible across a range of categories, including energy-efficient lighting, biochemical sensing, and efficient video displays.