Engineering Professor’s Bright Idea

Researcher helps develop smaller, longer-lasting LED light.

Coral Gables (June 28, 2011) — Jizhou Song, an assistant professor at the University of Miami’s College of Engineering, has helped designed a light-emitting diode (LED) light that utilizes an array of LEDs 100 times smaller than conventional LEDs.

This new device is more flexible, maintains lower temperatures, and has an increased life-span over existing LEDs. The findings were published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Traditional incandescent bulbs are inefficient because they convert most of their power into heat and only a small fraction into light. LEDs are an alternative to conventional bulbs because they reduce this energy waste.

In the study, scientists focused on improving certain features of LED lights, such as size, flexibility, and temperature. Song was instrumental in analyzing thermal management and establishing an analytical model that reduces the temperature of the device.

“The new model uses a silicon substrate, novel etching strategies, a unique layout, and innovative thermal management method,” says Song, co-author of the study, which is titled Unusual Strategies for Using InGaN Grown on Silicon (111) for Solid State Lighting.“The combination of these manufacturing techniques allows the new design to be much smaller and keep lower temperatures than current LEDs using the same electrical power.”

In the future, researchers are interested in making the  device stretchable, so that it may be used on a variety of surfaces, including deformable display monitors and biomedical devices that adapt to the curvilinear surfaces of the human body.

The corresponding authors are John Rogers, the Lee J. Flory Founder Chair in Engineering and professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and Ralph Nuzzo, G. L. Clark professor of Chemistry at UIUC. Yonggang Huang, Joseph Cummings professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, also is a senior author on the study.


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