Contact: Professor Humphreys, An Bao, Suman-Lata Sahonta, James Griffiths, Christopher Ren and F. Choi, Materials Science
The Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride has pioneered research into the development of Gallium Nitride light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on silicon substrates. This makes them very low-cost and easy to include in products. Over 2 million of these LEDs have now been manufactured by Plessey semiconductors.
Currently more than 1.1 billion people do not have any access to electricity, and a further 2 biillion have only intermittent access to electricity. Traditionally lighting has been provided by kerosene lamps, which are dangerous and high emitters of CO2, as well as using up to 25% of the total household income. Solar lamps are beginning to be used, for example through Solaraid, but the difficulty is often one of cost in a community that can only afford to live day by day.
The research team are keen that their new lower-cost LEDs become part of the solution to speed up the move away from kerosene lamps for the world’s poorest people. The questions for the i-Team will include who would be the best target customers, for example schools, hospitals or individual families, what products would be most useful to them, which organisations would be possible collaborators for the distribution of products, and how solar-LED products are currently financed. Where is there the greatest need that can be addressed by the lower-cost LEDs?