With virtual reality putting displays within inches of the user’s eyes, researchers have been exploring how to make pixels even smaller. Nanowire LEDs are approximately 10,000 times smaller than standard phone display pixels, but until now, the red micro LEDs haven’t been efficient enough to be practical.
A new study out in the journal Photonics Research, highlighted today as the May cover article, could change that. The researchers report an efficiency of over 1% for a submicron device, on par with blue and green LEDs of similar sizes. The researchers—led by Zetian Mi, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science—say that with further developments, the device efficiency will exceed that of today’s phone pixels.