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Scientists Build Thinnest-Possible Leds to Be Stronger, More Energy Efficient

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This graphical representation shows the layers of the 2-D LED and how it emits light.

Researchers at the University of Washington say they have developed the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.

Credit: University of Washington

University of Washington (UW) researchers say they have developed the thinnest-known light-emitting diode (LED) that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The new LED, which is 10 to 20 times thinner than conventional three-dimensional LEDs, is created with two-dimensional (2D) flexible semiconductors, which make it possible to stack or use them in much smaller and more diverse applications.

"This is a huge leap of miniaturization of technology, and because it's a semiconductor, you can do almost everything with it that is possible with existing, three-dimensional silicon technologies," says UW graduate student Jason Ross.

The new LED is made from flat sheets of tungsten diselenide, a new member of a group of 2D materials that have been identified as the thinnest-known semiconductors.

The researchers say the technology also could lead to using light as interconnects to run nanoscale computer chips instead of standard devices that run off electricity. "Our work makes it possible to make highly integrated and energy-efficient devices in areas such as lighting, optical communication, and nano lasers," says UW professor Xiaodong Xu.

The researchers now are studying more efficient ways to create the LEDs and examining what happens when 2D materials are stacked in different ways.

From UW News
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