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Bright Lights and Even Brighter Ideas

In principle, LEDs could be nearly 100 percent efficient at turning their energy into visible light. In practice, they’re somewhere near 20 percent, which is still far greater than the five percent of conventional incandescent bulbs. To better understand the source of those efficiencies -- and hopefully improve them further -- a team of researchers at Brookhaven National Lab and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took a close look at indium gallium nitride (InGaN), a material used in many LEDs. InGaN is an alloy, a mix of metals, and scientists had seen clusters of indium within it, which they suspected might contribute to its useful properties. Bright Lights and Even Brighter Ideas