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polymer LED (light-emitting polymer or polyLED)

Polymer LED ( light-emitting diode ) - sometimes called light-emitting polymer or polyLED - is a technology based on the use of polymer as the semiconductor material in LEDs. Polymers are chemical substances that consist of large molecules that are, themselves, made from many smaller and simpler molecules: proteins and DNA are examples of naturally occuring polymers; many others, such as nylon, are artificially created. Because of their flexibility and strength, polymers are used for products such as car bumpers and bullet-proof vests.

Because polymers are lightweight and flexible, they can simply and inexpensively be used for the creation of thin film displays for future technologies such as the electronic newspaper . Polymer LEDs have a number of inherent qualities that are ideally suited to such applications: they enable full-spectrum color displays, high brightness at low drive voltages, glare-free viewing, and long operating lifetimes. It is currently possible to create a small text display by structuring the polymer material and electrodes. The technology also offers a great deal of promise as a basis for cheaper, simpler lighting sources.

Light-emitting polymers were first announced by J. H. Burroughes, Richard Friend, and others in an article in Nature in 1990.

This was last updated in March 2011

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