Highly Bright, Heavy Metal-Free, and Stable Doped Semiconductor Nanophosphors for Economical Solid State Lighting Alternatives

Award Information
Environmental Protection Agency
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
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Small Business Information
P.O. Box 2168, Fayetteville, AR, 72702
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Research Scientists
(479) 575-3055
Business Contact:
Vice President/Senior Scientists
(479) 575-3481
Research Institute:
At present, the most economically efficient lighting technologies rely on discharge emission from mercury vapors. Mercury is also extremely toxic with the potential to accumulate in the human body over time. The alarming increase in mercury levels in our soils, sediments, and waters is driving the push to find economically viable alternative lighting sources that do not contain mercury. The object of this proposal is to combine non-toxic doped semiconductor nanocrystal phosphors with existing high efficiency blue/ultraviolet InGaN light emitting diodes to produce bright, efficient, and affordable solid state lighting for replacement of mercury-containing fluorescent lights. Doped semiconductor nanocrystal phosphors that do not contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, or cadmium are ideal for such an applications because, unlike bulk phosphors which suffer from scattering loses, the extremely small size of nanophosphors makes them immune to Mie-type scattering. Also, their synthesis and production methods are relatively cheap and easy, they can be processed form solution in a wide variety of solvents, and they can be blended with polymers and other encapsulants to form highly fluorescent composite materials conformable to nearly any surface. Their emission color can be tunable over a large visible range, and unlike intrinsic semiconductor nanocrystal emitters, doped nanocrystals have no reabsorption or fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) losses and therefore can be deposited in high packing densities for maximum luminous outputs and efficiency. The Phase I part of this project will concentrate on using our exclusive yellow-orange emitting Mn-doped ZnSe nanocrystal phosphor technology to examine the general feasibility and applicability of this new and exciting technology to the manufacture of solid state lighting that is at least competitive with conventional mercury-containing fluorescent light bulbs in terms of both cost and efficiency. The Phase II part will focus more on development and synthesis scale¬up of a full spectral range of doped semiconductor nanocrystal phosphors with high photoluminescesnce quantum yields as well as putting more focus onto the commercial aspects including the development of working prototypes and investor relations. This proposal, if successful, will have far-reaching environmental impact. The vision is to replace billions of mercury-containing fluorescent lights with non-toxic nanophosphor solid state lighting units effectively eliminating a major source of mercury release into the environment.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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