05 October 2016

LiU researcher Feng Gao has been awarded one of this year’s ERC Starting Grants by the European Research Council in stiff competition with other applicants. He will use the money, nearly EUR 1.5 million, in his work to develop new materials for light-emitting diodes.
Feng Gao, universitetslektor IFM 2016Photo credit: GORAN BILLESONFeng Gao, lecturer in the Division of Biomolecular and Organic Electronics at Linköping University, carries out research into perovskites, a group of materials that comprise organic cations, metal cations and halide anions. His research has been mainly directed towards applications in solar cells, but in this case light-emitting diodes are in focus.

New born materials

Global electricity consumption for illumination is currently around 20% of total electricity consumption: this could be reduced to around 4% if all illumination came from light-emitting diodes. However, the currently available blue-white light-emitting diodes are still too expensive and require complicated manufacturing processes.

“It’s only been two years since the first results from light-emitting diodes based on perovskites were published, so there are still challenges to be solved. They are, however, very promising materials since they are significantly simpler and cheaper to manufacture than the materials used in current light-emitting diodes,” says Feng Gao.

The new perovskites which will be developed in this project can also have future applications in for example solar cells, transistors and lasers.

Stiff competition

Against stiff competition – only 11% of the applications were successful – Feng Gao received one of the Starting Grants awarded by the European Research Council. The grant of nearly EUR 1.5 million will be used in his research project –
SHINING: Stable and High-Efficiency Perovskite Light-Emitting Diodes.

“It’s extremely gratifying and a great honour to receive this prestigious grant,” he says.

The European Research Council distributed EUR 485 million in this round of funding, spread between 325 research projects, 15 of them in Sweden.

The aim of these grants is to attract young talented researchers to Europe, retain their expertise and create employment opportunities for researchers in the EU. Of the recipients of grants who work in Sweden, more than half are not Swedish citizens.

“By funding these researchers, the EU enables them to realise their most innovative ideas, while at the same time creating excellent employment opportunities for other researchers who want to work with ground-breaking science,” said Carlos Moedas, EU commissioner for research, science and innovation, when announcing the grants.