Kopin Corp. for the first time has harnessed nanotechnology to produce light-emitting diodes (LED), yielding blue LEDs that are smaller than a grain of sand but are ultra efficient solid-state light sources. The technical breakthrough is revealed and published in the July 29 edition of the prestigious Applied Physical Letters.
Using a new patent-pending process that creates "NanoPocketsª" and other improvements, Kopin has developed a way to produce blue LED chips as bright as those commercially available and yet are driven by a much lower voltage. Kopin's new CyberLite™ blue LED chips require less than 2.9 V of electricity (for 20 mA of current) - significantly lower than the 3.3 V for commercially available LEDs - and yet have 100 millicandela brightness. "Getting below 3 V has been a scientific hurdle for nearly a decade," said Kopin founder and chairman Dr. John C.C. Fan.
"It took a new way of thinking to overcome this challenge. With further development, we can approach the holy grail of using these solid-state sources for general lighting." The blue CyberLite can be combined with a yellow phosphor to create a white LED. These blue and white CyberLite are ideal for compact portable light-using devices, such as wireless phones, games, camcorders, cameras, laptops and PDAs, which operate on battery power.
"Today's CyberLites announcement is significant because Kopin has cleverly integrated nanotechnology into the semiconductor process to create LEDs that are extremely low voltage and ultra bright," said Bob Steele, director of optoelectronics at Strategies Unlimited, a market research firm.
"With CyberLites, we have taken a very important first step in the commercialization of nanotechnology," said Fan. "The next step is achieving mass production. Although this is always the toughest part, as we did with our HBT transistors and CyberDisplay™ technologies, we believe we can move CyberLites into large-volume production for the mass-market. We have already begun shipping evaluation samples of CyberLites to prospective customers towards this goal."
Kopin selected LED lighting as its next innovation based on its Wafer Engineering Process™ because it has synergy with its current III-V and CyberDisplays products, and because the high brightness LED market is already large at $1.2 B today and expected to grow rapidly, reaching more than $3 B by 2005, according to Strategies Unlimited.