Thin Film Processing › Solar State Lighting
Solar state lighting is the biggest revolution in illumination since the incandescent bulb was introduced in 1879. LEDs are sturdy semiconducting wafers that are vibration and shock resistant, exceptionally long lived, and an order of magnitude more efficient than incandescent lighting. Since lighting consumes about 22% of the nation’s energy, the Department of Energy has established a goal of developing SSL technology that is 50% efficient and can accurately reproduce the solar spectrum by 2025. Although specifically colored LEDs have exceeded the power efficiency of incandescent and fluorescent lamps, the holy grail of solid state lighting is the generation of a warm white light for general lighting applications.
ORNL is developing techniques to alter the emission spectrum of LEDs through the use of quantum dot structures, which are very small (nanoscale diameter) clusters of semiconductor materials. The size and composition of the quantum dots can be adjusted to tailor the color and warmth of LEDs to mimic the solar spectrum. ORNL has synthesized very high efficiency quantum dot materials as well as increased the efficiency of commercial quantum dots by ~300% through pulsed thermal annealing.
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