New method for manufacture of green-coloured LEDs

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have developed a new method for manufacturing green LEDs claimed to provide greatly enhanced light output.

The research team, led by Christian Wetzel, professor of physics and the Wellfleet Constellation Professor of Future Chips at Rensselaer, etched a nanoscale pattern at the interface between the LED’s sapphire base and the layer of gallium nitride (GaN) that gives the LED its green colour.

Overall, the new technique is claimed to result in green LEDs with significant enhancements in light extraction, internal efficiency and light output.

The discovery brings Wetzel one step closer to his goal of developing a high-performance, low-cost green LED.

‘Green LEDs are proving much more challenging to create than academia and industry ever imagined,’ said Wetzel. ‘Every computer monitor and television produces its picture by using red, blue, and green. We already have powerful, inexpensive red and blue LEDs. Once we develop a similar green LED, it should lead to a new generation of high-performance, energy-efficient display and illumination devices.’

According to RPI, sapphire is among the least expensive and widely used substrate materials for manufacturing LEDs, so Wetzel’s discovery could hold important implications for the LED industry. He said this new method should also be able to increase the light output of red and blue LEDs.

Results of the study, titled ‘Defect-reduced green GaInN/GaN light-emitting diode on nanopatterned sapphire’, were published recently in the journal Applied Physics Letters.