The advent of 3-D printing is something of a revolution to the way that we manufacture goods. The sheer amount of things that we can make with the technology is practically endless – and that includes LEDs and other light bulbs.
If you haven't heard of 3-D printing before now, prepare to have your mind blown! The process itself is actually deceptively simple. A specialist printer, responding to design commands inputted by a human, lays hundreds of miniscule layers of plastic into a desired shape, which can be anything from a door handle, to dental braces – and now the 'world's thinnest LEDs' have been created with this technology.
A slight light
Rohinni, a company based in to U.S. state of Idaho, have managed to print an LED that is of the same thickness as a single sheet of paper. Sounds a little far-fetched? It isn't quite as complicated as you might think!
The bulb is crafted by mixing a specialist ink and very small LEDs together.
Known as LightPaper, the bulb is crafted by mixing a specialist ink and very small LEDs together. This mixture is then printed out on a single conductive layer, which is then sandwiched between two further layers. The light bulbs used are very, very tiny – around the size of a red blood cell, which are six microns across – six thousandths of a millimetre. Hence, you cannot see them with the naked eye, but once a current is fed to the paper, all of those miniscule LEDs light up. It's not a dim, tired glow either – LightPaper shines brightly, and Rohinni believe that it can be used to add illumination practically anywhere.
"Anywhere there is a light, this could replace that," says Nick Smoot, Chief Marketing Officer for Rohinni told the CDA Press. "You will be able to design and print you own light at home, too. Right now we are printing the light, but we are going to be putting that back in the hands of the people," he added.
What can LightPaper be used for?
Mr Smoot also states that his company aren't yet entirely sure how the innovative LightPaper will be used. However, they are thinking small for now – mobile phone displays, automobile logos (the technology is still a little too new to be trusted in headlights and brake lights) and perhaps attaching to the wall of a bedroom for additional illumination.
However LightPaper is finally used, one thing is for sure – it's going to have people sitting up and taking notice, and the creation of the product itself is worthy of applause.
"All we know is that we're trying to unlock the ability to create light," summed up Mr Smoot.
At Aesthetic Lighting Solutions, we're always on the lookout for exciting new innovations to add to our repertoire – and LightPaper certainly qualifies!