By BizLED Bureau
March 3, 2015: Professor Amano Hiroshi, winner of 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing blue LEDs, says that LED technologies have a very bright future, as these will be applied not only in lighting applications but also in medical field, horticulture, in high-tech devices, and many other applications. He said that a recent study found that global sales of LED packages in 2013 was ¥1.6 billion, which is expected to touch ¥3.8 billion by 2020.
Amani said that LED lamps will become a mainstream source of lighting from 2016, as a result, incandescent light bulb production may be stopped in many countries.
Speaking at the Foreign Press Center, Japan about the potential of LEDs, Amano stated that development of blue LEDs will be very beneficial for many applications, particularly for cellphones with full color screens.
How to save energy with LED lighting
Regarding energy saving benefits of LED lighting, Amano said that US itself consumes about four times as much electricity as Japan does. By using LED lamps, US can reduce energy consumption by 300 terawatt-hours, which is equal to the total electricity that would have been produced by Japan?s 48 nuclear power reactors, if they were working. The US Department of Energy had estimated that more than 70% of US lighting will be LED by 2030. On the other hand, Japan uses more LED lamps than the US, and by 2020, 70% of lighting will convert to LED. This will cut down about 7% total power consumption, which will amount to about ¥1 trillion in terms of electricity rates.
How to reduce LED production costs
However, Amano says that a number of problems need to be taken care of in order to realize this scenario globally, and one of the major challenge is to make LED production cheaper by at least five times by 2020. And to reduce production costs to one-fifth of its current cost, it would require a significant demand for LED lamps globally. Amani has suggested that in areas where there is no electricity, LED lamps can be powered by batteries. This will give rise to significant demand for LED lamps.
Suggesting ways to cut down production costs, Amano referred to the ongoing research into 3D nanowire LEDs. ?By using numerous ultrathin gallium nitride (GaN) wires in shapes with more exposed surfaces, manufacturers can increase efficiency of light emission while using less material,? he said.
He also suggested other ways of reducing LED production costs, for example by using existing equipment to produce new substrates required by blue LEDs. Also, by replacing sapphire substrates?which make 95% of the existing LEDs?with GaN substrates, which can increase brightness of LEDs by at least four times.
A research team at Nagoya University is working with Aledia of France on a project to develop the next generation LEDs. A joint undertaking with US and Swedish companies is also ongoing. These solutions can also reduce production costs of LEDs, Amano stated.
Finding new applications of LEDs
Amano said that research is also underway to use LEDs in increasing growth of crops and plants. ?This is another new field to apply LEDs and increase its demand,? he said.
He said research is also being done into ?deep-ultraviolet LEDs with wavelengths as short as 250?350 nanometers. Deep-UV LEDs, which boast high efficiency and long life, have a wide range of potential applications, including treatment of skin diseases and DNA analysis, as well as sensors for water contamination to be used in areas where people need to purify drinking water. These could also be used for photochromic printing for 3D printers,? Amani said. Amano said Nagoya University team has been developing commercial products in these fields.
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