Light-Emitting Technology on the Horizon
Eco-Friendly LEC vs LED Devices
Researchers from Japan and Germany are developing eco-friendly light devices that use a single layer of organic film mixed with light-emitting materials and an electrolyte. These light-emitting electrochemical cells (LEC) are gaining attention due to their simplified structure and because they consume less energy and cost less than the organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) currently on the market.
The research team is using molecules called dendrimers, new organic materials that can extend the life of LECs. The electrolyte in an LEC can be made from inexpensive materials, such as biomass-derived cellulose acetate, a compound used in clothing fibers and eyeglass frames, whereas OLEDs use rare or heavy metals.
Researchers are also using graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, as the electrode. While the progress is exciting, the developers of this new lighting technology note that more research is needed before it goes to market in order to make the devices brighter and capable of illuminating in three primary colors.