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LED Lighting As Cheap As CFLs Invented 553

mcgrew writes "New Scientist reports that a British team has overcome the obstacles to cheap LED lighting, and that LED lamps as cheap as CFLs will be on the market in five years. Quoting: 'Gallium nitride cannot be grown on silicon like other solid-state electronic components because it shrinks at twice the rate of silicon as it cools. Crystals of GaN must be grown at 1000C, so by the time a new LED made on silicon has cooled, it has already cracked, rendering the devices unusable. One solution is to grow the LEDs on sapphire, which shrinks and cools at much the same rate as GaN. But the expense is too great to be commercially competitive. Now Colin Humphreys's team at the University of Cambridge has discovered a simple solution to the shrinkage problem. They included layers of aluminium gallium nitride in their LED design... These LEDs can be grown on silicon as so many other electronics components are. ... A 15-centimetre silicon wafer costs just $15 and can accommodate 150,000 LEDs making the cost per unit tiny.'"

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