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Malaysian helps to invent world's fastest LED and light emitting transistor

AvantiKumar | June 19, 2009
Breaks through 40-year barrier, uses 90 per cent less power

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 JUNE 2009 A Malaysian has helped to invent the world's fastest light emitting diode (LED) and light emitting transistor (LET) breaking a 40-year barrier.

Malaysian scientist Dr Gabriel Walter, founder and CEO of Quantum Electro Opto Systems (QEOS) was part of the team that created the world's fastest spontaneous light emitters capable of transmitting at speeds of up to seven GHz (Gigahertz).

For more than 40 years, the scientific community had embraced the belief that efficient spontaneous light device cannot be operated at bandwidths larger than 1 GHz, said Dr Walter. After more than five years of fundamental research, which began at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) in 2004, the QEOS-UIUC team proved that 4.3 GHz operation of a light emitting transistor (LET) and, later, the 7 GHz operation of the light emitting diode (LED) was possible.

QEOS gigabit speed LED is unique as it is a device that is cost-efficient to make and just as effortless to be implemented as the light bulb itself, said Dr Walter. It will introduce a pricing pressure and impact not seen before in the data communication and consumer electronic market. And for some fibre optic implementations, these LEDs consume 90 per cent less power compared to existing optical solutions.

The research was funded through a four-year US$6.5 million Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant and later supported by the BGM grant and the US Research Army Office.

Headquartered in Ayer Keroh, Malacca, QEOS was incorporated in May 2008 through the Brain Gain Malaysia Programme, an experimental initiative under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).

Significant green technology breakthrough

In an age where energy conservation and the issues of global warming are important, this represented a significant environmental technology breakthrough, said Dr Walter. Our high speed LEDs will enable a new class of cost competitive green; products that are environment friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

Those thick ugly cables that usually come with your high-definition TVs and monitors would be things of the past, said Dr Walter, who scored his second success when the research was selected for publication in the June 15 2009 edition of the Applied Physics Letters (by the American Institute of Physics). In addition to legendary inventor Professor Nick Holonyak Jr., Professor, Milton Feng and Dr Gabriel, the papers are also co-authored by UIUC Ph.D. graduate students Chao Hsin Wu and Han Wui Then (another Malaysian).

It is a major achievement to be featured in this publication for our success of the 4.3 GHz high speed of the light emitting transistor (LET) as the device has an additional capability to integrate optoelectronics, he said. It will do the same to the world of optoelectronics like what transistors did to the world of electronics. The potential applications are essentially limitless.


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