When you think of LEDs, you probably picture small, nipple-esque lumps of plastic. But if these scientists have their way, the LEDs of the future will look more like bright, glowing paper or fabric.
Researchers from Linköping University, Sweden, have just published work in Rapid Research Letters that reveals they're capable of growing white LEDs directly onto the surface of paper in very thin layers. That means that in the future, LED lighting could appear built into wallpaper, or even sewn directly into fabrics.
The trick is made possible using nanorods of zinc oxide, which are deposited onto a thin layer of polydiethylflourene, a conducting polymer. Magnus Willander, one of the researchers, explains:
"This is the first time anyone has been able to build electronic and photonic inorganic semiconducting components directly on paper using chemical methods."
Patents are currently pending on the research, but it's pretty exciting to imagine low-power lighting coming in a thin, flexible form that could be easily secreted about your home. What would you do with it? [Rapid Research Letters via Science Daily]
Image by Mike Deal aka ZoneDancer under Creative Commons license