Thin-Film LEDs for Virtual Reality Technologies

Researchers from North Carolina State Univer­sity and the University of Texas have developed and demonstrated a new approach for designing photonic devices. The advance allows them to control the direction and polari­zation of light from thin-film LEDs, paving the way for a new generation of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) techno­logies.

New device architecture for photonic devices allows directional and polarized emissions from an organic LED. (Source: NCSU)

“This is a funda­mentally new device archi­tecture for photonic devices,” says Franky So. “And we’ve demons­trated that, using our approach, directional and polarized emissions from an organic LED or a perovskite LED without external optical elements can be realized.” In practical terms, an approach that allows for directional control of light using thin-film LEDs makes it possible to develop VR and AR headsets that are substan­tially lighter and less bulky. And the improved effi­ciency of the devices means that you get more photons out of the display unit for every electron that you put in.

For AR units, it also means that more light from the outside world gets through to the user. In other words, you’ll still be able to see the image being super­imposed on your view of the real world, and your view of the real world will be clearer. “Because the device we’ve demons­trated is simple to fabricate and can be easily scaled-up, our discovery of this strong directional and polarized light emission from OLEDs and perovs­kite LEDs has important appli­cations for displays, lighting and other photonic appli­cations,” So says. (Source: NCSU)

Reference: X. Fu et al.: Directional Polarized Light Emission from Thin‐Film Light‐Emitting Diodes, Adv. Mat. 33, 2006801 (2021); DOI: 10.1002/adma.202006801

Link: OEMD-Lab, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA

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