Light emitting polymers

Light emitting polymers or polymer based light emitting diodes discovered by Friend et al in 1990 has been found superior than other displays like, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) vacuum fluorescence displays and electro luminescence displays. Though not commercialised yet, these have proved to be a mile stone in the filed of flat panel displays. Research in LEP is underway in Cambridge Display Technology Ltd (CDT), the UK.

In the last decade, several other display contenders such as plasma and field emission displays were hailed as the solution to the pervasive display. Like LCD they suited certain niche applications, but failed to meet broad demands of the computer industry.

Today the trend is towards the non_crt flat panel displays. As LEDs are inexpensive devices these can be extremely handy in constructing flat panel displays. The idea was to combine the characteristics of a CRT with the performance of an LCD and added design benefits of formability and low power. Cambridge Display Technology Ltd is developing a display medium with exactly these characteristics.

The technology uses a light-emitting polymer (LEP) that costs much less to manufacture and run than CRTs because the active material used is plastic.

LEP is a polymer that emits light when a voltage is applied to it. The structure comprises a thin film semi conducting polymer sandwiched between two electrodes namely anode and cathode. When electrons and holes are injected from the electrodes, the recombination of these charge carriers takes place, which leads to emission of light that escape through glass substrate.