Physicists Hit Double Breakthrough In LED Research

In two major breakthroughs in the field of photonics, graduate researchers at the City College of New York, have reported the successful demonstration of an LED (light-emitting diode) based on half-light half-matter quasiparticles in atomically thin materials. This occasion also marks the first successful test of an electrically driven light emitter using atomically thin semiconductors embedded in a light-trapping structure (the optical cavity).

The groundbreaking research, reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, is led by graduate physics student Jie Gu and post-doctoral fellow Biswanath Chakraborty with another graduate student, Mandeep Khatoniyar.

According to the research team’s mentor, Vinod Menon who is chair of Physics in City College’s Division of Science, this double feat scripts an important milestone in the field of 2-D materials and, more broadly, LEDs.

While this kind of LEDs has been realized in other materials at low temperatures, this particular device operates at room temperature and is fabricated using the currently well known “scotch tape” based technique.

Menon noted, “The fact that this device is fabricated using stacks of atomically thin materials and operates at room temperature makes it an important first step towards a technologically relevant device demonstration. One potential application of such hybrid LEDs is the speed of operation—which can translate to using them for LED-based communication systems including LiFi.”

LiFi is a wireless optical communication technology that utilizes LEDs for data transmission at much higher speeds than Wi-Fi.  The device was first fabricated at the CCNY-based CUNY Advanced Science Research Center’s nanofabrication facility and then tested in Menon’s lab. Taking their work further, the CCNY team is now attempting to realize quantum emitters (single-photon emitters) using similar architecture.

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