September 4, 2008
Evident Technologies is preparing to release in a few weeks a new type of light-emitting diode that promises to display any color, making the technology more useful in marketing signage, computer displays, and other applications.
Evident, a privately held company based in Troy, N.Y., announced Thursday that it had licensed from Philips Electronics technology that will pave the way for Evident to commercialize its LEDs, which use nanocrystals of semiconductor material that can display any color. "People have been shackled to traditional diode colors, and this takes them to the next level," Clint Ballinger, chief executive of Evident, told InformationWeek. Currently, LEDs can display only white, blue, green, yellow, and red, limiting their use in signage, Ballinger said. "We make it so you can tune the color of the diode to make it basically anything you can dream up." To do that, Evident coats a blue diode with nanocrystals, also called nanopolymers, made of cadmium selenide and indium phosphide. Once on the diode, the crystals' electrical properties are manipulated to produce the color, Ballinger said. More colorful diodes are expected to be useful in advertising signage, such as for companies that use particular colors as part of their brand identity. The LEDs also will be useful in creating general-purpose computer displays with more color accuracy than today's screens, Ballinger said. Today, traditional LEDs are used as backlighting in liquid-crystal displays to make colors brighter and more vivid. Evident's technology will add only an "incremental" increase to what manufacturers pay for traditional LEDs today, Ballinger said, declining to say how much more. "They're going to be more expensive, but not a lot more expensive." The price of traditional LEDs ranges from 3 cents to $3 a piece, depending on power and packaging. Evident plans to release its first new LEDs in a few weeks. At that time, the company will release the names of the first customers, Ballinger said.
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