Integration of Optoelectronic Devices on a Chip Will Lead to Smarter Lighting

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers from the Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications ERC (LESA) headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have successfully demonstrated the first monolithic integration of the high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) and LED on the same gallium nitride-based (GaN) chip. This integration will lead to a revolutionary new class of Light Emitting Power Integrated Circuits (LEPICs).

Impact/benefits: 

Just as the integration of many silicon devices on a single chip – or Integrated Circuits –  has enabled powerful compact computers and a wide range of smart device technologies, LEPICs will play a pivotal role in cost-effective monolithic integration of electronics and LED technology for new lighting-enabled systems applications and more efficient LED lighting systems.

Explanation/Background: 

Today’s LED lighting systems employ a wide range of external drivers, inductors, capacitors, connectors and wires that add size and cost to fixtures while limiting functionality. Each of these external components also acts as an additional point of failure, creating system complexity.

GaN transistors offer improved power and frequency performance characteristics that can help operate LEDs more simply and efficiently. In optoelectronics, GaN-based LEDs are used for high-efficiency solid state lighting. The common platform enabled by GaN materials in electronics and optoelectronics should make it possible to incorporate drivers, dimming circuits, high-speed digital switching, and other smart control functions into a single, compact, reliable, and cost effective package, enabling a multitude of new Smart Lighting applications such as visible light communication (VLC) and both adaptive and full spectrum lighting.