A Novel Design for Gallium Nitride LEDs Could Lead to Brighter, More Efficient Displays

  • January 16, 2019
    Vertical gallium nitride nanowire transistor
    Image: Matthew Hartensveld

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    Here’s some news to brighten your day: Small display screens, like the ones needed for AR, VR, and other head-up displays, may soon become way more efficient and yield unprecedented resolution, thanks to a new kind of transistor made from vertically oriented gallium nitride nanowires.

    GaN micro-LEDs are more desirable than today’s commercial designs in almost every way. For instance, each pixel on the screen of the iPhone X is created by a collection of organic LEDs, which are much bigger in size than nanowire GaN LEDs, resulting in larger pixel sizes.

    What’s more, to control the color of each pixel, commercial devices rely on relatively bulky thin-film transistors (TFTs), whereas GaN LEDs can be designed to produce a color directly—and emit that color at 100 to 1,000 times the brightness and with at least double the efficiency.

    The inherent properties of GaN also means that electrons can move up to 1,000 times faster than in silicon TFTs, which allows for much quicker on-and-off switching.

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