Vincent Lee Pioneers Ultra-Bright LEDs

Vincent Lee’s startup Lumiode has developed an LED display that is 30 times brighter and 10 times more energy efficient than those currently being used in mobile devices.

Lumiode has rethought the way LED panels function. Conventional displays use LEDs as merely a backlight source whose luminescence shines through an active-matrix filter to form the pixels that make up the images that users see. Lumiode dispenses with the filter and uses tiny LEDs as individual pixels. Eliminating the filter increases brightness and dramatically enhances the brightness of images. There is a thin layer of silicon above each LED pixel to control brightness, but Lumiode’s display wastes far less energy because only pixels in actual use are lit.

Surprisingly, Lumiode’s display is made using standard components and essentially the same image-processing technology as today’s displays. That means it can be mass produced at a low cost. Its enhanced brightness and efficiency make it ideal for applications like Google Glass which requires both qualities in order to display sufficient information on a small surface area in bright sunlight.

Lee, the firm’s CEO, and two fellow co-founders came together at Columbia University to found Lumiode last September in Brooklyn. So far the company has built a one-millimeter square display containing 2,500 LEDs of a single color in a 50 × 50 configuration. In a year Lee expects to produce a 320×240-pixel prototype that will produce other colors through a special layer. These pixel-densities and brightness also make the technology ideal to serve as miniature projectors that may be built into smartphones, for example.

“The reason this exists now is because our CEO Vincent Lee worked out the method of controlling a large amount of LEDs pixels by growing high-quality silicon transistors,” explained Brian Tull, Lumiode’s VP of R&D.

Once the larger prototype is completed Lee hopes Lumiode will be able to partner with electronics makers to work on incorporating its technology into products like wearable displays, windshield projectors and even better 3-D scanners and printers.

Vincent Lee received his PhD from Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (named after Chinese businessman Z Y Fu who had donated $26 million to the school in 1997). Lee received his undergraduate education from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick.