Want to produce a pattern of light with a single light-emitting diode (LED)? Researchers at the University of Rochester have done it with an LED made of polymers by borrowing a silicon-processing techniquemicrolithography. Working with Hewlett Packards Solid State Technology Lab in Palo Alto, Calif., the researchers believe they have opened the door for the evolution of plastic LEDs from humble indicator lights on electronic devices into increasingly sharp and sophisticated displayseven LED-based computer monitors or TV screens.
"And since weve selected the same technique that has already been used to mass produce many millions of integrated circuits, we know its a very easy and efficient way to process materials," says lead researcher Guillermo Bazan, an associate professor of chemistry at the Rochester, N.Y. university. The researchers have moved on to working on an LED that can emit pinpoints of different colors of light. The microlithographic technique might also be used someday to make polymer microchips by patterning conducting grids on polymers, much as silicon chips are now made.