Rare Earth Substitute Found for LEDs

The price of LED lighting is constantly dropping while the technology advances. How can we cut the costs even more? I, Dr.Bulb, am thrilled that researchers at Rutgers University may have found a solution!

Most commercially available LEDs incorporate rare-earth metals like cerium. Currently, China limits the access to rare earth materials, successfully driving up the cost of energy-efficient lighting. Recently, both Japan and North Korea discovered large reserves of rare earth metals. This finding could force China to lower its price and break the rare earth monopoly. But now, there’s something entirely new helping decrease the cost of energy-efficient lighting that would prevent LED manufacturers from depending on rare-earth suppliers all together.

With a rare-earth substitute discovered by researchers, LED manufacturers have the potential to be less reliant on rare-earth suppliers. The new rare-earth substitute could allow LEDs to be inexpensive and more environmentally friendly. It’s made from a hybrid phosphor known as copper iodide, according to the Journal of The American Chemical Society study. This material is completely free of rare-earth metals and can be synthesized by a low-cost, scalable solution process. Not only will this enable the manufacturing of inexpensive LEDs, it will also make it possible for LEDs to produce a new kind of light. The introduction of ligands will allow the LEDs to emit a warmer light or other colors.

The main reason for not automatically switching to LEDs is the initial cost. LEDs made with this new and scalable copper compound can make energy efficiency easier to afford and, hopefully, help usher the world into a new era of sustainability.

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