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U-M startup NS Nanotech unveils new generation of LEDs for high-efficiency, high-performance displays

Brighter, crisper screens that draw half the power and lasts twice as long are possible with NS Nanotech’s next-gen LEDs.

Written by Jeff Karoub, Michigan News

University of Michigan startup NS Nanotech has announced the creation of a smaller, more energy-efficient light-emitting diode that aims to offer brighter, crisper displays for massive signs, mobile phones and other devices.

The company, whose technology is based on research by Zetian Mi, a U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer science, publicly revealed its technology with a demonstration unit during this week’s virtual Display Week Conference and Exhibition, Society for Information Display’s annual symposium and trade show.

Mi said the demonstration “shows the feasibility of a new generation of green LEDs” and “represents a significant innovation” within the industry.

“Imagine a mobile phone with a brighter and crisper display than you have ever seen, but which draws only half the power and lasts twice as long on a single charge as any of today’s smartphones,” said Mi, co-founder of NS Nanotech and leader of the team that developed the technology at Michigan and McGill University in Montreal.

The company’s underlying research uses new methods for growing nano-LEDs and their resulting structures. That approach boosts efficiency and performance while lowering costs—bridging a gap that has historically limited LED use in numerous markets.

Mi said other startups are working on nanoscale LED structures but NS Nanotech utilizes them “to enable more directional, more stable and more saturated light emission.”

NS Nanotech, which closed its first round of seed funding last year, says it envisions its technology initially being used in micro-LED displays and then expanding into health, energy efficiency and sanitation applications. The same technology used in such displays is expected to be capable of delivering invisible, ultraviolet-spectrum light for water and air purification as well as medical equipment sterilization.

Mi’s research group is focused on the investigation of semiconductor nanostructures and their use in electronic, photonic and solar energy devices and systems.

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