The LED revolution
On Monday 16 March, Professor Sir Colin Humphreys will discuss his research into gallium nitride during a public talk, ‘Out of the red and into the blue: making the LED revolution cost-effective’.
Professor Humphreys will examine the fascinating properties of this light-emitting crystal, which led to the invention of the blue LED and a subsequent 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for the team who originally developed the blue LED.
Gallium nitride is probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon. It can be used to emit brilliant light in the form of light emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes, as well as being the key material for next generation high-frequency, high-power transistors capable of operating at high temperatures.
From efficient lighting and water purification to biomedicine and power electronics, Gallium nitride has the potential to slash carbon dioxide emissions with energy-saving electronic devices.
‘The widespread use of gallium nitride LEDs could save 15% of all the electricity we consume. They could also save 15% of carbon emissions from power stations. In addition, optimised LED lighting could protect against cancers, strengthen our immune system, help us get to sleep, eliminate SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), improve productivity at work and even improve exam performance.
‘Gallium nitride power conversion devices, used in mobile phone chargers, laptop chargers or electric cars could save another 10% of electricity and carbon emissions. This one miracle material, gallium nitride, could save 25% of all the electricity we use and a quarter of carbon emissions from power stations: more than the likely savings from wind power, solar and tidal power combined.’
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys
There will be an associated event on Saturday 21 March, ‘Gallium nitride: lighting the future’.
Further energy-related talks and exhibitions during the Science Festival include:
Saturday 14 March: Solar powered cars with University of Cambridge Engineers. Younger visitors will be able to design and build a model car that harnesses the power of light and turns it into movement.
Saturday 14 March: Brought to light: exploring the past and future of earth’s greatest resource. Light has fascinated scientists for hundreds of years – for centuries its origins and nature were mysterious. So just what is light?
Wednesday 18 March: Connectivity and flow in future cities. Today, more people live in cities than in rural areas and, by 2050, this ratio is predicted to rise to 7 out of every 10 people. Such rapid growth and urbanisation creates tremendous opportunities and also tremendous social and environmental challenges. A panel will discuss sustainable cities and how increased connectivity and the flow of resources, people and energy could help to shape them.
For full event listings and more information about the Festival, visit the Cambridge Science Festival website. Unless stated otherwise, all Festival events are free of charge.