Intelligent Energy

Scientists invent paper LEDs

Scientists invent paper LEDs

Posting in Energy

Scientists have discovered how LED lighting can be printed onto paper using nanotechnology, making futuristic novelties such as glowing wallpaper and luminescent curtains possible, Sweden's Linköping University says.

Linköping University researchers have invented a method to apply LED lighting to paper.

Scientists have discovered how LED lighting can be printed onto paper using nanotechnology, making futuristic novelties such as glowing wallpaper and luminescent curtains possible, Sweden's Linköping University says.

Dr. Gul Amin and his research assistant Naved ul Hassan Alvimade made the breakthrough, which has a patent pending. The university announced the research late last month, which happened to be Amin's doctoral thesis.

"This is the first time anyone has been able to build electronic and photonic inorganic semiconducting components directly on paper using chemical methods," lead researcher professor Magnus Willander, said in a prepared statement.

The process is made possible by using nano-crystals of zinc oxide, an inexpensive material that is found in sunscreens. The material is stable, and would not require the protective coverings that are found on OLEDs (organic light-emitting diode), veteran journalist Alfred Poor noted in a blog post.

OLEDS are another flexible material that's used for displays in some devices, but are remain fairly costly. I recall writing about the potential for OLED televisions to take the market by storm - 11 years ago. That clearly has not happened yet, so I am cautious predicting sweeping technology trends.

However, Poor already sees some interesting applications for "paper" LEDS. "The same technology could also be used to create sensors or photovoltaic solar cells. It is possible that this technology could both light your office and generate the electricity to power that lighting," he wrote.

(Image credit: Linköping University)

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure