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A team working out how to maximize the amount of light emitted by LED lightbulbs has made a discovery using nanoscale 3D printing.
Through studying the natural light-producing capabilities of bioluminescent bugs, Penn State researchers have pinpointed the microscopic qualities of insects with the brightest glow. Using high precision 3D printing, the team then recreated these qualities. They have now produced a bright new patent-pending technology that they believe could have commercial applications for clean energy.
Professor - Stuart - Shizhuo - Yin - Author
Professor Stuart (Shizhuo) Yin, corresponding author of the paper discussing this technology soon to published by Optik journal, explains, “LED lightbulbs play a key role in clean energy. Overall commercial LED efficiency is currently only about 50 percent. One of the major concerns is how to improve the so-called light extraction efficiency of the LEDs.”
“OUR RESEARCH FOCUSES ON HOW TO GET LIGHT OUT OF THE LED.”
Penn - State - Team - LED - Research
The Penn State team’s LED research is a type of bioinspiration, based on the lanterns of fireflies and glowing spots of the Ecuadorian cockroach lucihormetica luckae. Though unrelated as species, the microstructure of these insects’ glowing parts is strikingly similar: both parts are patterned with rows of pyramids. The undulating structure of this pattern allows more light to escape the source instead of reflecting backwards and lost. Modern LEDs already share this type of structure with their insect relatives. However, the key finding of Penn State’s research is that the pyramids on firefly lanterns and cockroach spots are asymmetric, with varying angles.
“This is where I tried to go a little deeper into the study of light extraction efficiency using asymmetric structures,” explains study lead author and Penn State doctoral student Chang-Jiang...
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