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Perovskites used to make high brightness LEDs

Flexible LED displays that are cheap and simple to produce could soon be on the way thanks to researchers at the University of Cambridge.

A team led by Zhi-Kuang Tan has been able to produce high brightness LEDs using a group of perovskite materials known as organometal halide perovskites.

These materials dissolve well in common solvents, and assemble to form perovskite crystals when dried, making them cheap and simple to make.

"The organometal halide perovskites are remarkable semiconductors," said Tan, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory. "We have designed the diode structure to confine electrical charges into a very thin layer of the perovskite, which sets up conditions for the electron-hole capture process to produce light emission."

To make the LEDs, the researchers prepared the perovskite solution and then spin-coated it onto the substrate.

Because the process doesn't require high temperature heating steps or a high vacuum, it is considerably cheaper and simpler than other methods.

"It's remarkable that this material can be easily tuned to emit light in a variety of colours, which makes it extremely useful for colour displays, lighting and optical communication applications," noted Tan. "This technology could provide a lot of value to the ever growing flat panel display industry."

The researchers are now looking to increase the efficiency of the LEDs and use them for diode lasers. They believe the first commercially available LED based on perovskite could be available within the next five years.

Laura Hopperton

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