updated 04:20 pm EDT, Wed July 9, 2008
Nanosilicon LED prototype
A prototype of a light emitting device developed by Matsushita Electric Works (Panasonic) and a Japanese University engineering department that is more efficient and smaller than conventional LEDs was unveiled today. Unlike fluorescent lamps, such as CCFLs used in HDTVs, the device does not require mercury, using a 5nm or smaller nanosilicon device to create a ballistic electron discharge into xenon gas. With further development, the nanosilicon LED could be used in future notebook, computer and HDTV screens, extending battery life in portable devices thanks to its efficiency.
The device, developed in conjunction with the Graduate School of Engineering at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, is able to theoretically produce 150 lumens per Watt, its creators claim. In comparison, the most efficient conventional white LEDs produce 80-100 lumens of light per watt. And because its output is not linked to the amount of voltage passed through it, but rather its design, its efficiency can be easily enhanced, Matsushita and the University say.
The prototype's nanosilicon layer generates electrons when voltage is passed through it, which are then discharged through xenon gas. This process forms ultraviolet light not visible to the naked eye, as its wavelength is 200nm or less. In order to be converted into visible light, it passes through a layer of phosphor.
More details of the new technology will be presented at the 21st International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference in Poland, set to take place from July 13 to 17. The founders said their next step is to improve upon the prototype with a more efficient design. [via Tech-On!]