South West researchers searching for brighter LEDs

Researchers in Bristol are currently working on a European project to make white Light Emitting-Diodes (LEDs) even brighter.

The colour of LEDs is determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor, meaning the researchers will be working on this to increase the brightness of white LEDs by a factor of ten.

If they succeed, the brighter LEDs will be used for car headlights, reports Swinnovation.

The £2.9 billion European project, called GECCO, aims to use vertical structures for these brighter lights.

As well as the South West researchers, the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, Lodz and lighting company OSRAM are taking part in the project.

Modern LEDs already provide a bright light output at high efficiency and are currently used for car headlights.

As well as making these lights brighter, the project intends to make the production of LEDs more cost-effective and to improve their efficiency levels.

LEDs are currently constructed in a planar way, which means in layers and completely flat.

To make them brighter, more levels are needed, making the process expensive and laborious.

Researchers now intend to construct them three-dimensionally so that every LED consists of a light-emitting tower, from which the entire vertical surface emits light.

These light-emitting towers are within the micrometer range, meaning they are a form of microtechnology. Approximately one million LEDs fit on an area of one square millimetre.

Not only will this process boost the brightness of these diodes, making them will be easier and less expensive.

It also makes it more likely for LEDs to replace ancient light bulbs and halogen lamps as they are less costly to run and last longer.

Demand for LEDs is set to increase as 20 per cent of electricity worldwide is currently used for illumination.

They are also useful products for electric cars, suggesting this industry is set to grow even further.

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