Phosphors are useful in numerous applications including imaging, detection, and lighting. They come in forms of thin films, monoliths, or powders for miscellaneous devices, or dispersible nanoparticles for applications such as biomedical imaging. Oxide phosphors, as apposed to chalcogenides or pnictides, have inherent chemical and thermal stability and minimal toxicity to the biosphere. Tantalates are very promising materials for these applications because they are especially robust and resistant to chemical degradation. Studies have shown that rare-earth tantalates are excellent host lattices for europium (Eu)-doped red-emitting phosphors, excited by blue light.
The specific application of using phosphors for improved color rendering of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for solid-state lighting was explored. Discovery of an ideally suitable red phosphor for this application could potentially revolutionize this highly-competitive, advanced technology industry.