Researchers create eco-friendly LEDs based on copper–iodide clusters

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Scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China, led by Prof. Yao Hongbin, have made a big leap in lighting technology by creating a new type of LED light that’s not only super bright but also kind to our planet.

Their groundbreaking work, published in Nature Photonics, introduces a warm white LED made from copper-iodide clusters, shining a light on the future of eco-friendly and cost-effective lighting.

Making LEDs in a simple and affordable way is the dream for the future of lighting.

Currently, most LED lights are made from materials that are either bad for the environment, like lead-halide, or expensive to produce, like certain quantum dots and organic materials.

This has been a big hurdle in making eco-friendly and budget-friendly LED lighting a reality for everyone.

The team from USTC tackled this challenge head-on. They crafted a new kind of light-emitting material using copper and iodine. This material is not only cheap and low in toxicity but also produces a warm, bright light that’s perfect for lighting up homes and offices.

What makes these new LEDs stand out is their incredible brightness and longevity, all thanks to the innovative copper-iodide clusters at their heart.

These clusters can dissolve easily in a common solvent used in LED production, making them easy to work with.

The lights made from these clusters are super bright, reaching up to 40,000 to 60,000 cd m-2 (a measure of brightness), and they last for over 232 hours before they start to dim. That’s about ten days of non-stop lighting!

Even more exciting, these LEDs can change color. By tweaking the materials just a bit, the team made LEDs that can shift across different colors, opening up possibilities for customizable lighting to fit any mood or setting.

This breakthrough isn’t just about making brighter lights; it’s about paving the way for affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly lighting solutions.

The team’s work promises a future where LED lights are not only versatile and long-lasting but also accessible and gentle on our planet.