Neat and Nano – Part 5

by Michael Mullaney on May 10, 2011

Continuing on with our tales from the Rensselaer clean room lab, let’s talk about lighting. More specifically, LEDs.

At one stop along the clean room tour, physics doctoral student Christoph Stark, seen above using the Reactive Ion Etch machine, gave us a look at his work on developing high-power green light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Here’s what Stark told us:

Solid-state lighting technology is evolving rapidly at the moment.  These advances are made possible by high-brightness LEDs, which are based on the semiconductor gallium nitride.  I design and fabricate high-efficiency micro- and nanostructured green LEDs which emit a great deal of useful light.  Conversely, high quality films of gallium nitride can be used to make efficient solar cells which capture light that is otherwise lost in conventional silicon solar cells.

The Rensselaer clean room allows me to access advanced semiconductor processing tools.  For example, in my research I use electron beam lithography and dry etching tools to create my nanometer-sized structures with unique properties.

Stark is a member of Professor Christian Wetzel’s research group, and this work is affiliated with the Rensselaer-led NSF Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center.

I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peak at the great work taking place in the Renssleaer clean room.

Tune in tomorrow for more on the scientific intrigue and drama surrounding the hunt for the elusive green LED.