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New LEDs offer improved properties

By Paul Grad |

Flexible micro light-emitting diodes (LEDs) — a sub-100-µm light source for red, green and blue light — have become a strong candidate for the next-generation display due to their low power consumption, fast response, and flexibility. The previous micro-LED technology had drawbacks, such as poor efficiency, low thermal reliability, and the lack of interconnection technology for high-resolution micro-LED displays. Now, a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Daejeon, South Korea; www.kaist.ac.kr), led by professors Keon Jae Lee and Daesoo Kim, has developed flexible vertical micro LEDs (f-VLEDs) using anisotropic-conductive-film (ACF)-based transfer and interconnection technology.

The Korean team has fabricated an f-VLED array through the precise alignment of ACF bonding. Those f-VLEDs achieved optical power density of 30 mW/mm2) — three times higher than that of lateral micro-LEDs — and improved thermal reliability and a lifetime of 100,000 h by reducing heat generation within the thin-film LEDs.

Lee says the f-VLED can be used in low-power smart watches, mobile displays and wearable lighting. These devices are also suitable for biomedical applications, such as controlling the behavior of neuron cells and brains, phototherapeutic treatment and contact lens biosensors. In contrast to the electrical stimulation that activates all of the neurons in the brain, these f-VLEDs can stimulate specific excitatory or inhibitory neurons within the localized cortical areas of the brain, which allows for precise analysis, high-resolution mapping, and neuron modulation of brains.

Lee established a startup company, Fronics, Inc., based on micro-LED technology, and is seeking partners to commercialize the technology.

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