Photonics Breakthrough: New LED Material Could Lead to ‘Li-Fi’ Network

It’s billed as a significant breakthrough in photonics: the creation of a light-emitting diode (LED) consisting of light and matter quasiparticles in atomically thin materials.

The research from the City College of New York and the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY, was led by graduate physics student Jie Gu and post-doctoral fellow Biswanath Chakraborty, in collaboration with another graduate student, Mandeep Khatoniyar. The team was mentored by Professor Vinod Menon.

The team also carried out the first successful test of an electrically driven light emitter using atomically thin semiconductors embedded in a light- trapping structure (optical cavity).

Schematic of a half-light- half-matter quasiparticle based LED developed in Vinod Menon's group using atomically thin materials.
Schematic of a half-light- half-matter quasiparticle based LED developed in Vinod Menon’s group using atomically thin materials. Image credit: Visakh Menon

These advances in 2D materials and LED technology were described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. 

One potential application for the novel material: the future development of a wireless, high-speed optical networking system that would be LED-based — “Li-Fi” rather than Wi-Fi.

The new material works at room temperature, unlike previous efforts that required low temperatures. 

“The fact that this device is fabricated using stacks of atomically thin materials and operates at room temperature makes it an important first step towards a technologically relevant device demonstration,”  Menon told CCNY.

The material was created at the CUNY ASRC nanofabrication facility and tested in Menon’s lab.

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