CES 2010 - Nanosys Using Nanotechnology to Make LED Lighting More Beautiful


Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch

Jason Hartlove, CEO of Nanosys, met with me at CES to talk about the work he and his company is doing to make the colors of LED displays more colorful and attractive with process-ready technology that electronics and lighting companies can easily add to their current LED manufacturing lines. The trick is in nanotechnology, creating nanomaterials out of semiconductor materials to layer over blue LED lights (the most energy efficient LED color), forming better quality white LED light with a range of hues. And the result is far more vivid colors with the same energy efficiency of current LED technology. Using this nanotechnology, the company has figured out how to make LEDs of virtually any hue with a color saturation far greater than current LED-backlit LCD displays, and lighting that has warmer hues.

Hartlove stated that for lighting, the company simply uses standard blue LEDs, and adds their phosphor material architectured from nanomaterials to create warm white LED lights. He states, "We use the same processes nature has to architect nanomaterials that provide greater wavelength range."

As our eyes are more sensitive to green, the lights in displays have a higher level of green so that our perception of the brightness of colors is heightened without actually increasing the brightness of the display, which means we get better picture quality for the same low energy input.

Hartlove pointed out that the quality of LED colors in displays is only as good as the original light source - Nanosys is improving the quality of that original light source. And with a material manufacturers can easily add to their process line, meaning no new factories or significant retooling needed to create better - still low power - LED products.


This demo light creates a warm white light with LEDs that have Nanosys' material layered over them.

Hartlove expects us to see about 60% of the notebooks coming out over the next year to be LED-backlit, and he he estimates that so far only about 10% of the television market is LED-backlit, so a technology like this that creates higher quality displays without increasing the energy consumption will find a strong market.

While OLEDs get a lot of attention for their high picture quality and low energy consumption, Hartlove stated that Crystilline LEDs are about 30% efficient at turning energy into photons while OLEDs are only about 4% efficient. LEDs also have a roughly 15 year head start on OLEDs in research, and he estimates that for the foreseeable future, LEDs will be the more efficient, more affordable, and more practical choice for lighting and displays.

We can expect to see products using Nanosys' technology coming out this year, including lighting and television displays. While the technology has been created to have no major cost difference for companies, we don't know if the cost of products using the technology will go up. They'll be a higher quality, so it's likely they'll have a slightly higher price.

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Tags: Electronics | Energy Efficiency