30. Jun 2016

Next-generation fluorescent light and LED light thanks to new phosphor

Researchers from KU Leuven (Belgium), the University of Strasbourg, and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris have discovered a new phosphor that could make next-generation fluorescent and LED lighting even cheaper and more efficient. For the study the team used highly luminescent clusters of silver atoms and the porous framework of minerals known as zeolites. The result: stable silver clusters that maintain their unique optical properties.

next LED generation

Zeolites are minerals that are either found in nature or produced synthetically on an industrial scale. They are commonly used in domestic and industrial applications such as washing detergent and water treatment.

Professor Maarten Roeffaers from the Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis at KU Leuven explains: “Zeolites contain sodium or potassium ions. We used ion exchange to replace these ions with silver ions. To obtain the clusters we wanted, we heated up the zeolites with the silver ions, so that the silver ions self-assembled into clusters”.

Professor Johan Hofkens explains: “Heating up the silver ions in the zeolite framework makes them adopt a pyramid shape. with up to four silver atoms. That is exactly the shape and size in which the silver cluster emits the largest amount of fluorescent light, with an efficiency close to 100%”.

These findings have great potential for the development of next-generation fluorescent and LED lighting and for biological imaging. After all, the new phosphors not only emit a large amount of light, they are also cheap to produce.

This study was funded by the European Union: EU FP7-NMP-2012 SACS (Self-Assembly in Confined Space; GA-310651).



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