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UGA researchers invent new material for warm-white LEDs
Date:1/18/2013

LED chip coated with light emitting materials, or phosphors, of different emitting colors to create what are called phosphor-based white LEDs, Pan said. Combining the source materials in an exact ratio can be difficult and costly, however, and the resulting color often varies because each of the source materials responds differently to temperature variations.

"The use of a single phosphor solves the problem of color stability because the color quality doesn't change with increasing temperatures," said lead author Xufan Li, a doctoral student in the College of Engineering.

To create the new phosphor, Pan and his team combine minute quantities of europium oxide with aluminum oxide, barium oxide and graphite powders. They then heat the powdered materials at 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) in a tube furnace. The vacuum of the furnace pulls the vaporized materials onto a substrate, where they are deposited as a yellow luminescent compound. When the yellow luminescent compound is encapsulated in a bulb and illuminated by a blue LED chip, the result is a warm white light.

Although his team's results are promising, Pan emphasized that there are still hurdles to be overcome before the material is used to light homes, businesses and schools. The efficiency of the new material is much lower than that of today's bluish white LEDs. Scaling the production to an industrial scale will be challenging as well, since even slight variations in temperature and pressure in the phosphor synthesis process result in materials with different luminescent colors.

The new yellow phosphor also has a new lattice structure that has not been reported before. The researchers currently are working to discern how the ions in the compound are arranged in hopes that a better understanding of the compound at an atomic level will allow them to improve its efficiency.

"We still have more work to do," Pan said, "but the color temperature and re
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Contact: Zhengwei Pan
panz@uga.edu
706-542-4657
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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