Use of Infrared Light Source to Generate White Light

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Output of a diode laser coupled to a waveguide
Michael Bass, Ph.D.
Alfred Ducharme
Alexandra Rapaport, Ph.D.
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John Miner
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Patent Protection

Light source using emitting particles to provide visible light

US Patent 7,088,040 B1
Review of the Properties of Up-Conversion Phosphors for New Emissive Displays SID
International Symposium-Digest of technical papers, XXXV, Book 2, p1237-1239

The generation of white light by exposure of rare-earth materials to near-infrared sources, diode lasers or LEDs, and the various proposed embodiments as applied to a variety of white light applications.

Efficient generation of white light is the focus of many optical research endeavors since traditional sources (light bulbs) simply convert electrical energy into light by heating a filament – an incredibly wasteful process. As anyone who has sat too close to an old TV knows, by combining red, blue, and green light at a distance one may create the illusion of any color, including ‘white’ light. It has therefore been hoped that by efficiently generating light of various colors we may combine them to produce an efficient light source to mimic natural sunlight.

Technical Details

UCF researchers sought to solve this problem by illuminating rare-earth materials, such as ytterbiumerbium or ytterbium-thulium, with invisible infrared light, which in turn re-radiates at a specific visible wavelength (color). This process, known as frequency up-conversion, has been applied to the problem of ‘white’ light generation to yield a versitile and significantly more energy efficient process that mixes red, blue, and green upconverting materials to produce white of any desired color intensity.


  • Higher electrical efficiency than traditional bulbs
  • Cool temperature operation
  • Produces a crisp and controllable white light source


  • Replacement of any source of white light that is considered too wasteful or hot
  • Control of brightness, color temperature, and illumination directions
  • Utilization for increasing the capabilities of other products by making them run cooler which is important for temperature sensitive materials or portable electronics