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    • 2013-03-06 15:40:00
    • Article ID: 600023

    Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

    • Credit: Rensselaer

      Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Ming Ma has developed a new method to manufacture light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that are brighter, more energy efficient, and have superior technical properties than those on the market today. His patent-pending invention holds the promise of hastening the global adoption of LEDs and reducing the overall cost and environmental impact of illuminating our homes and businesses. For this innovation, Ma, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named the winner of the prestigious 2013 $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize.

    Michael Mullaney

    518-276-6161

    mullam@rpi.edu

    News from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    March 5, 2013

    www.rpi.edu/news

    $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prizes Awarded to Inventive Students at Three Leading Universities

    Troy, N.Y.—Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Ming Ma has developed a new method to manufacture light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that are brighter, more energy efficient, and have superior technical properties than those on the market today. His patent-pending invention holds the promise of hastening the global adoption of LEDs and reducing the overall cost and environmental impact of illuminating our homes and businesses.

    For this innovation, Ma, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named the winner of the prestigious 2013 $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. He is among the three 2013 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize winners announced today.

    “For more than 175 years, Rensselaer has produced some of the world’s most successful engineers and scientists, explorers and scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs. Doctoral student Ming Ma, with his groundbreaking invention of GRIN LEDs, honors and continues this tradition of excellence,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Rensselaer and the School of Engineering offer a hearty congratulations to Ming for his achievement. We also applaud all of the winners, finalists, and entrants of the Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize for using their talent and passion to engineer a better world and a better tomorrow.”

    Ma is the seventh recipient of the Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. First given in 2007, the prize is awarded annually to a Rensselaer senior or graduate student who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way, redesigned a system, or demonstrated remarkable inventiveness in other ways.

    “Invention is critical to the U.S. economy. It is imperative we instill a passion for invention in today’s youth, while rewarding those who are inspiring role models,” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “This year’s Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize winners and finalists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prove that inventions and inventive ideas have the power to impact countless individuals and entire industries for the better.”

    For videos and photos of Ma and other award finalists, please visit: www.eng.rpi.edu/lemelson

    Seeking Brighter, Smarter LEDs

    Conventional incandescent and fluorescent light sources are increasingly being replaced by more energy-efficient, longer-lived, and environmentally friendlier LEDs, but LEDs still suffer from challenges related to brightness, efficiency, and performance With his project, “Graded-refractive-index (GRIN) Structures for Brighter and Smarter Light-Emitting Diodes,” Ma faced these problems head-on and tackled a fundamental, well-known technical shortcoming of LED materials.

    LEDs are hampered by low light-extraction efficiency—or the percentage of produced light that actually escapes from the LED chip. Currently, most unprocessed LEDs have a light-extraction efficiency of only 25 percent, which means 75 percent of light produced gets trapped within the device itself.

    One solution that has emerged is to roughen the surface of LEDs, in order to create nanoscale gaps and valleys that enable more light to escape. While surface roughening leads to brighter and more efficient light emission, the roughening process creates random features on the LED’s surface that do not allow for a complete control over other critical device properties such as surface structure and refractive index.

    Freeing Trapped Light with GRIN LEDs

    Ma’s solution to this problem was to create an LED with well-structured features on the surface to minimize the amount of light that gets reflected back into the device, and thus boost the amount of light emitted. He invented a process for creating LEDs with many tiny star-shaped pillars on the surface. Each pillar is made up of five nanolayers specifically engineered to help “carry” the light out of the LED material and into the surrounding air.

    Ma’s patent-pending technology, called GRIN (graded-refractive-index) LEDs, has demonstrated a light-extraction efficiency of 70 percent, meaning 70 percent of light escaped and only 30 percent was left trapped inside the device—a huge improvement over the 25 percent light-extraction efficiency of most of today’s unprocessed LEDs. In addition, GRIN LEDs also have controllable emission patterns, and enable a more uniform illumination than today’s LEDs.

    Overall, Ma’s innovation could lead to entirely new methods for manufacturing LEDs with increased light output, greater efficiency, and more controllable properties than both surface-roughened LEDs and the LEDs currently available in the marketplace.

    Impactful Researcher

    Ma joined Rensselaer in 2008 as a member of Professor E. Fred Schubert’s research team. In his time at Rensselaer, Ma has been the first author on five research papers, published in Applied Physics Letters, Journal of Applied Physics, and Optics Express, and co-author of several studies in other journals. He is also a reviewer for Optics Letters and Optics Express.

    “Ming Ma is an outstanding student—strongly motivated, creative, intelligent, and highly skilled,” said Schubert, the Wellfleet Senior Professor in the Future Chips Constellation at Rensselaer and a faculty member of the university’s Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering and Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy. “Ming’s technical accomplishments are innovative, and have had a significant impact on the LED materials research community. The innovation of GRIN LEDs should not be underestimated—Ma’s invention is the first viable approach for high-efficiency LEDs with a controllable far-field emission pattern. This is an important development for LED lighting, and it is already capturing the attention of industry.”

    Growing up in Jiangxi Province in southeast China, Ma fostered an early love of science. This fascination was fostered by his father, a newspaper editor, and his mother, a mechanical engineer at a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Ma became interested in advanced materials as an undergraduate student at Fudan University in Shanghai, which inspired him to study LEDs as a graduate student at Rensselaer.

    Upon completing his doctoral degree from Rensselaer later this year, Ma plans to continue researching materials and LEDs in academia or industry.

    Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prizes

    Winners of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize were also announced today at their respective universities:

    • Lemelson-MIT Student Prize Winner Nikolai Begg has developed medical devices to make “puncture access” medical procedures, such as laparoscopic surgeries and epidurals, less risky. Many minimally invasive procedures use puncture access devices that plunge forward after breaking through tissue. Begg’s “force sensing” mechanism has a blade that retracts the moment it passes through tissue, significantly lowering the risk of damage to underlying organs when creating a pathway into the patient’s body.

    • Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize Winner Eduardo Torrealba has created Plant Link, which monitors the moisture needs of specific plants and can deliver water on an as needed basis using smart valves. The evolution of this wireless product will make agricultural water resource management easier and more affordable than ever on a global scale. Ranging from home lawns and gardens to farms in emerging economies, this technology has a huge potential to impact the sustainability and costs of water usage.

    About the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize

    The $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize is funded through a partnership with the Lemelson-MIT Program, which has awarded the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize to outstanding student inventors at MIT since 1995.

    About The Lemelson-MIT Program

    Celebrating innovation, inspiring youth

    The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding innovators and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

    Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering. The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the United States and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries. http://web.mit.edu/invent/

    Read about past winners of the $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize:

    • Student Innovator Uses Graphene Foam To Detect Subtle Traces of Hazardous Gases and Explosives

    Fazel Yavari’s graphene innovation is a new sensor to detect extremely small quantities of hazardous gases

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=3005

    • Student Innovator Uses Sound Waves, T-Rays for Safer Detection of Bombs and Other Dangerous Materials

    Benjamin Clough’s invention increases distance between first responders and potential threats

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2840

    • Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

    Javad Rafiee’s graphene innovation could lead to more efficient hydrogen-powered vehicles

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2690

    • Student Developer of Versatile “G-gels” Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize

    Yuehua “Tony” Yu’s innovation could lead to new medical devices, drug-delivery technologies

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2538

    • Student Develops New LED, Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize

    Martin Schubert’s polarized LED could improve LCD displays, save energy

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2406

    • Handheld “T-Ray” Device Earns New $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize

    Brian Schulkin’s “Mini-Z” spots cracks in space shuttle foam, detects tumors in tissue

    http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=1944

    Contact

    Michael Mullaney

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Troy, NY

    518-276-6161

    mullam@rpi.edu

    Visit the Rensselaer research and discovery blog: http://approach.rpi.edu

    Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RPInews

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    Spotlighting Differences in Closely-Related Species

    Aspergillus fungi play roles in fields including bioenergy, health, and biotechnology. In Nature Genetics, a team led by scientists at the Technical University of Denmark, the DOE Joint Genome Institute, and the Joint Bioenergy Institute, present the first large analysis of an Aspergillus fungal subgroup, section Nigri.

    Researchers switch material from one state to another with a single flash of light

    Scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and then back again, with single flashes of laser light.

    The Stories Behind the Science: How Does the Ocean's Saltiness Affect Tropical Storms?

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    Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

    Feature describes unexpected discovery of a role the process that seeds magnetic fields plays in mediating a phenomenon that occurs throughout the universe and can disrupt cell phone service and knock out power grids on Earth.

    Genetic behavior reveals cause of death in poplars essential to ecosystems, industry

    Scientists studying a valuable, but vulnerable, species of poplar have identified the genetic mechanism responsible for the species' inability to resist a pervasive and deadly disease. Their finding could lead to more successful hybrid poplar varieties for increased biofuels and forestry production and protect native trees against infection.

    Pushing the (Extra Cold) Frontiers of Superconducting Science

    Ames Laboratory has developed a method to measure magnetic properties of superconducting and magnetic materials that exhibit unusual quantum behavior at very low temperatures in high magnetic fields.

    Scientists Find Unusual Behavior in Topological Material

    Argonne scientists have identified a new class of topological materials made by inserting transition metal atoms into the atomic lattice of a well-known two-dimensional material.

    Wind Farms and Reducing Hurricane Precipitation

    New research reveals an unexpected benefit of large-scale offshore wind farms: the ability to lessen precipitation from hurricanes.

    New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

    PPPL scientists have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted ash produced during fusion reactions and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration device.

    How Animals Use Their Tails to Swish and Swat Away Insects

    A new study shows how animals use their tails to keep mosquitoes at bay by combining a swish that blows away most of the biting bugs and a swat that kills the ones that get through.


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    Physicist Takes Cues from Artificial Intelligence

    In the world of computing, there's a groundswell of excitement for what is perceived as the impending revolution in artificial intelligence. Like the industrial revolution in the 19th century and the digital revolution in the 20th, the AI revolution is expected to change the way we live and work. Now, Cristiano Fanelli aims to bring the AI revolution to nuclear physics.

    Engineering professor receives Department of Energy grant

    New Mexico State University Department of Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Ehsan Dehghan Niri has received a United States Department of Energy grant. This is a three-year award for $400,000 and is a collaboration with Arizona State University.

    Argonne and Capstone receive funding to advance thermal energy storage technology

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Capstone Turbine Corp. have received $380,000 in DOE Technology Commercialization Funding to refine Argonne's high-efficiency, fast charging/discharging latent heat thermal energy storage system (TESS) for use in building applications and process/manufacturing industries.

    AVS and AIP Publishing Expand Partnership to Launch AVS Quantum Science

    AIP Publishing and AVS: Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing (AVS) today announced an agreement to publish AVS Quantum Science, a new online interdisciplinary journal. The announcement coincides with the AVS 65th International Symposium & Exhibition in Long Beach, California, from October 21-26, 2018.

    Prototype Solar Energy, Battery Systems to Fuel Commercialization

    Designing, building and testing prototype systems that show how renewable energy can power devices, such as a weather and soil sensor station, can help bridge the gap between basic science research and commercialization.

    Argonne to Advance High Performance Computing in Manufacturing

    Argonne awarded funding to partner with Industry to advance the use of high performance computing in manufacturing.

    "Invisible Glass" Wins 2018 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize

    Scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials developed a technique for making nonreflecting glass, silicon, and plastic surfaces.

    Missouri S&T researchers win multimillion dollar grant to build fast-charging stations for electric cars

    Researchers from Missouri S&T and three private companies will combine their expertise to create charging stations for electric vehicles that could charge a car in less than 10 minutes - matching the time it takes to fill up a conventional vehicle with gasoline."The big problem with electric vehicles is range, and it's not so much range as range anxiety.

    Making batteries store more energy, last longer

    A new solid polymer electrolyte may help make cell phone batteries store more energy and last longer.

    Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named Fellows of American Physical Society

    The American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest physics organization, has elected three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory as 2018 APS fellows.


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    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    Shining Light on the Separation of Rare Earth Metals

    New studies identify key molecular characteristics to potentially separate rare earth metals cleanly and efficiently with light.

    Placing Atoms for Optimum Catalysts

    Precise positioning of oxygens could help engineer faster, more efficient energy-relevant chemical transformations.

    How to Make Soot and Stardust

    Scientists unlock mystery that could help reduce emissions of fine particles from combustion engines and other sources.

    Breaking the Symmetry Between Fundamental Forces

    Scientists improve our understanding of the relationship between fundamental forces by re-creating the earliest moments of the universe.

    Water Plays Unexpected Role in Forming Minerals

    Water molecules line up tiny particles to attach and form minerals; understanding how this happens impacts energy extraction and storage along with waste disposal.

    Heavy Particles Get Caught Up in the Flow

    First direct measurement show how heavy particles containing a charm quark get caught up in the flow of early universe particle soup.

    Seeing Between the Atoms

    New detector enables electron microscope imaging at record-breaking resolution.

    Scaling Up Single-Crystal Graphene

    New method can make films of atomically thin carbon that are over a foot long.

    Discovered: Optimal Magnetic Fields Suppress Instabilities in Tokamak Plasmas

    U.S. and Korean scientists show how to find and use beneficial 3-D field perturbations to stabilize dangerous edge-localized modes in plasma.


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