Academics create alternative to rare earth elements

Academics say they have created a material that can make LEDs cheaper to manufacture by removing the need to use expensive rare earth element (REE) phosphors, writes

The researchers, from the University of Washington have developed silicon-based nanoparticles, derived from sand, that can soften the blue light emitted by LEDs, a job usually done by REE phosphors.

The company, LumiSands, has managed to separate nano-sized particles from wafers of silicon which then start to glow when the particle size is smaller than five nanometers.

When the red-emitting silicon nanoparticles are added to LEDs, the light becomes softer and warmer in hue. LumiSands plans to tweak the red technology before moving on to other colours such as yellow and green. This will enable LEDs to cast a white light with no rare earth elements.

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