TechConnect Innovation Spotlight: Embedded Photonic Crystals for Use in LEDs and Lasers

January 27, 2014 01:50 PM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

University of California at Santa Barbara, TechConnect World-National Innovation Summit 2013, Washington, DC

TechConnect News spoke with Shaun Juncal, Marketing Manager, Office of Technology & Industry Alliances at the University of California at Santa Barbara about the university’s Photonic Crystal Portfolio and the technology’s ability to increase efficiency of LEDs and lasers for use in lighting, display and projection. “The portfolio was developed by a world- class team of researchers at UCSB’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Center (SSLEC), including Dr. Claude Weisbuch, Dr. Steve DenBaars, Dr. Shuji Nakamura and Dr. Jim Speck.” The center was launched in March 2007 to advance new semiconductor-based energy efficient lighting and display technologies through partnerships with key industry leaders. The center is recognized for being the most efficient industry funded center in the US.

Mr. Juncal informed us that, “UCSB researchers were the first to explore embedding the crystals in the active layer of LEDs and lasers in order to maximize their effect. This collection of photonic crystal patents specifies a single-step method for embedding photonic crystals in the active layer, as well as a process for utilizing embedded air gaps to improve the performance of LEDs.” One of the most important aspects of improving LEDs and lasers is to increase the efficiency of emissions. Previous attempts to increase efficiency using photonic crystals involved placing the crystals on the surface of the devices, but this did not prove as effective as was hoped. UCSB’s technology provides a single-step photonic crystal packaging process that results in extraction efficiencies of up to 94%, giving whoever implements the technology a significant advantage in the important area of efficiency.

The growing LED market demands that leading LED companies continue to increase efficiency and decrease cost. According to Mr. Juncal, “The Photonic Crystal Portfolio provides the opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage in a crowded technology field.”

UCSB was chosen to participate at the TechConnect World-National Innovation Summit. We asked Mr. Juncal to share with us any updates since the May 2013 event: “ The TechConnect conference resulted in quite a few on-site meetings, about twenty-five in fact and since the conference we have had several licensing discussions.” 

UCSB is currently looking for both funding and development partners.

For further information about UCSB’s Photonic Crystal Portfolio and the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center, please visit:


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