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I wondering if it would be theoretically possible for me to build my own led or oled. I am aware that this is not very practical, I'm more interested just as an exercise. I understand the basic theory behind leds and the materials necessary, but I'm not aware of the process required.

My environment is neither. It's hack space in NYC where we build a variety of things. My budget could potentially be a few hundred dollars. I've been looking a bit into semi conductor inks thinking perhaps that is the easiest route. I was really just looking to see if anyone has attempted this.

If anyone can point me in the right direction it would be appreciated.

Thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is your work environment? Are we talking "small university cleanroom with minimal equipment" or "garage workbench with some sand and a lighter"? What is your budget? IMO, this would be a more useful question if rephrased in the format of "How is an LED constructed?" (from which you and anyone else can determine whether or not they can build it) than the current "Can I build an LED?" format. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Feb 13 '12 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for your input, I will rephrase to be more helpful. My environment is neither. It's hack space in NYC where we build a variety of things. My budget could potentially be a few hundred dollars. I've been looking a bit into semi conductor inks thinking perhaps that is the easiest route. I was really just looking to see if anyone has attempted this. \$\endgroup\$ – user379468 Feb 13 '12 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ See Jeri Ellsworth's videos linked from here: hackaday.com/2010/11/29/diy-oleds If you understand what she did, you are well on your way to making your own LEDs. \$\endgroup\$ – markrages Feb 13 '12 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user379468 Noisebridge? \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Feb 13 '12 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @markrages - That was what thought of immediately but had no idea of the ref AND that's a good answer - you should post it as one. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Feb 14 '12 at 0:41
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Yes you can! And no specialistic knowledge is required.

Check out this site: Building a DIY LED from SiC

Michael Lippert writes:

The green glow of the DIY LED! At the contact point of pin and crystal greenish light is emitted.

The setup is very simple. I took a crystal of SiC and attached a clamp to it to supply it with about 20 Volts. It is important that the plus clamp is used. It is further advisable to limit the current to something around 30 mA. This will prevent the crystal from heating up too much, as the diode forward voltage will be only on the order of 9 Volts @ 30 mA. If you have no current limiter on your power supply or want to use a battery, use 12 Volts as fixed voltage and be careful not to overheat your setup. The negative lead is attached to a wire which holds a regular pin from your sowing supplies. After applying the voltage the pin should be moved across the surface forming a cat’s whisker detector. Every now and then a tiny light appears at the contact point.

Here's a photograph of the operational LED:

enter image description here

Requires: Silicon carbide (sandpaper etc), pin, wire, power supply.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +5 if I could :-). Even if it is just a link :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Feb 14 '12 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you know the tiny point is glowing from LED action and not incandescence? 9V x 30mA = 270mW, which could glow due to very tiny contact region. By the way, I believe that this is really a LED, just trying to understand how observation was done to really prove that. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Feb 14 '12 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Incandescence can cause white, yellow or red glow. But I think that it cannot cause green glow. Check out Wien's displacement law. \$\endgroup\$ – Maciej Kucia Feb 14 '12 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Time to hit eBay... \$\endgroup\$ – mng Feb 15 '12 at 6:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like at least a whopping 1 mcd \$\endgroup\$ – user26530 Jul 19 '13 at 21:01

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