By Patricia Daukantas
For most of a decade, researchers have been pursuing organic LEDs (OLEDs) as a useful material for flexible displays, solar panels and even data storage. Now, a group based in Illinois (U.S.A.) says that inorganic LEDs (ILEDs) offer possibilities for ultrathin lighting and display systems that are brighter than their organic cousins.
Writing in last Friday’s Science, John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and his colleagues described these thin LEDs, which are constructed from epitaxial semiconductor layers that can be printed onto glass, plastic or rubber substrates.
Existing inorganic LEDs are much thicker than organic diodes, and hence more expensive. An accompanying ScienceNOW article describes the Illinois team’s bulk-manufacturing process, which involves creating the diodes on a temporary layer, then depositing them en masse onto the permanent substrate for integration with conductors and insulators.
Besides UIUC, Rogers’ co-workers are affiliated with Northwestern University (Illinois, U.S.A.), Semprius (North Carolina, U.S.A.), Singapore’s Institute of High Performance Computing and Tsinghua University (China).