The Math That Promises to Make the World Brighter
An elaborate quantum dance powers LED lightbulbs. The more precisely the dance can be choreographed, the closer LEDs will come to fulfilling their promise as the ubiquitous energy-efficient lighting source of the future (LEDs are already efficient, but they could be a lot more so). My latest story, “Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs,” is about a mathematical discovery that allows physicists to plan out that quantum dance step by step, like directors of a Broadway show.
LEDs work when electrons can be coaxed to collide with “holes,” particle-like entities with a positive charge found in semiconducting material. When an electron hits a hole, the LED emits a photon of light.