The LEC—now an efficient and bright device

January 11, 2018, Umea University
The light device LEC is flexible and thin. Credit: Umeå University

Researchers from Umeå University and Linköping University in Sweden have developed light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) that emit strong light at high efficiency. As such, the thin, flexible and lightweight LEC promises future and improved applications within home diagnostics, signage, illumination and healthcare. The results are published in Nature Communications.

The light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) can be thin, flexible, and light-weight and be driven to essentially any emission color by the low voltage of a battery. It can also be extremely low cost, since it can be fabricated with low-cost printing and coating methods similar to how newspapers are fabricated.

A persistent problem is that it has not been possible to attain strong brightness at from LEC devices. In fact, it has been questioned whether the LEC is even capable of being simultaneously bright and efficient. In the current issue of Nature Communications, a team of scientists demonstrate a path toward resolving this problem. Using a systematic combination of experiments and simulations, they have established a generic set of design principles, including balanced trap depths, optimized doping, and electrochemically stabile materials. The approach has paved the way for LEC devices that emit light with a high brightness of 2,000 cd/m2 at an electron-to-photon efficiency of 27.5 percent.

"As a point of reference, a normal TV operates between 300 to 500 cd/m2, while 2,000 cd/m2 is the typical brightness of an OLED illumination panel. Concerning , our LEC device is close to that of common fluorescent tubes," says Ludvig Edman, leader of the project and professor at the department of physics at Umeå University.

"With this performance, the LEC component is now not only offering low costs and highly attractive design advantages, but is also becoming a true competitor with existing technologies, such as the fluorescent tube, LED and OLED, as regards to efficient and practical operation," says Martijn Kemerink, professor at the department of physics, chemistry and biology at Linköping University.

Explore further: Future light component produced in printing press

More information: Shi Tang et al, Design rules for light-emitting electrochemical cells delivering bright luminance at 27.5 percent external quantum efficiency, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01339-0

Related Stories

Future light component produced in printing press

August 15, 2012

( -- In the August issue of Nature Communications, Professor Ludvig Edman and PhD Andreas Sandström at Umeå University, report that they have produced organic light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) ...

Tomorrow's clothes may be made with light-emitting e-fabric

August 3, 2016

(Tech Xplore)—Researchers have fabricated a large-area textile that emits bright yellow light for more than 180 hours. The low-cost, flexible, transparent textile has potential applications in light-emitting clothing, signs, ...

Organic electronics can use power from socket

March 21, 2017

Organic light-emitting devices and printed electronics can be connected to a socket in the wall by way of a small, inexpensive organic converter, developed in a collaboration between Linköping University and Umeå University, ...

Light-emitting fork made with sprayed LEC technology

May 20, 2015

Light-emitting electrochemical cells, LEC, is a newly invented lighting technology. In his thesis, physicist Amir Asadpoordarvish, Umeå University, shows how a LEC can be produced through spraying three layers of ink on ...

Recommended for you

Engineers invent groundbreaking spin-based memory device

December 7, 2018

A team of international researchers led by engineers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have invented a new magnetic device to manipulate digital information 20 times more efficiently and with 10 times more stability ...

Multichannel vectorial holographic display and encryption

December 7, 2018

Holography is a powerful tool that can reconstruct wavefronts of light and combine the fundamental wave properties of amplitude, phase, polarization, wave vector and frequency. Smart multiplexing techniques (multiple signal ...

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices

December 7, 2018

Like so many targets of scientific inquiry, the class of material referred to as the kagome magnet has proven to be a source of both frustration and amazement. Further revealing the quantum properties of the kagome magnet ...

How ice particles promote the formation of radicals

December 7, 2018

The production of chlorofluorocarbons, which damage the ozone layer, has been banned as far as possible. However, other substances can also tear holes in the ozone layer in combination with ice particles, such as those found ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.