Research develops light-emitting electrochemical cells for recyclable lighting

A cost-effective and easy-to-manufacture lighting technology can be developed with light-emitting electrochemical cells. Such cells are ionic and thin-film electronic devices that produce light after low voltage is applied.

In a research initiative, researchers at University of Turin and Technical University of Munich have used extensive data analysis to develop top-notch electrochemical cells from copper complexes that emit white and blue light.

In fact, till date, light-emitting electrochemical cells are the least expensive and simplest expensive thin-film lighting devices that are available. These cells comprise a single active layer. For example, they are used as electroluminescent stickers and inks.

Historically, effect of electroluminescence was demonstrated for the first time in 1905. Two scientists identified the presence of light under applied voltage in various metals and minerals and were able to correlate the intensity with heat and voltage generation.

The prototypes developed by researchers are considered to be the introductory LEDs. However, technical use of electroluminescence effect became possible only later, whereas popular LEDs are semiconductor devices that release light when electrical voltage is applied, the light-emitting electrochemical cells that are looked at follow a different principle, explains one of the research associates.

The research groups have now developed the first approach to develop LEC emitters in so-called active layers. The LECs create excellent blue and white light based on copper complexes.

Meanwhile, the development of inexpensive devices that release blue and white light is highly desirable and carries many advantages. Nonetheless, the earlier insufficiency of blue emitters has obstructed the transition from laboratory to the real market.

Resultantly, the creation of blue emitters is a general significant stage in thin-film lighting. On development of blue devices, the development of while will be relatively easy.