Scientists have discovered a novel way to create a new form of LED light by packaging luminescent proteins in the form of rubber that will not only be cost-effective but also soothe our eyesight and enhance mood.
This innovative bioLED gives off a white light which is created by equal parts of blue, green and red rubber layers covering on LED, thus rendering the same effect as with traditional inorganic LEDs but at a lower cost.
“We have developed a technology and a hybrid device called BioLED that uses luminescent proteins to convert the blue light emitted by a ‘normal’ LED into pure white light”, explained Rubén D’osta, researcher at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) and co-author of the study.
Despite their advantages, LEDs are manufactured using inorganic materials that are in short supply such as cerium and yttrium, meaning that they are more expensive and difficult to sustain in the long run.
Additionally, white LEDs produce a colour that is not optimal for eyesight since they lack a red component that can psychologically affect individuals exposed to them for long periods of time.
The German-Spanish team has drawn inspiration from nature’s biomolecules in search of a solution.
Their technique consists of introducing luminescent proteins into a polymer matrix to produce luminescent rubber.
This technique involves a new way of packaging proteins which could end up substituting the technique used to create LEDs today.
The authors note that the blue or ultraviolet LEDs are much cheaper than white ones which are made of an expensive and scarce material known as YAG:Ce (Cerium-doped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet). The idea is replace it by proteins.
“The Bio-LEDs are simple to manufacture and their materials are low-cost and biodegradable, meaning that they can easily be recycled and replaced,” Costa added.
Scientists are already working on optimising this new elastic material in order to achieve greater thermal stability and an even longer operating lifetime.
The details were published in the journal Advanced Materials.