Naturally Derived Organic Dyes for LED Lightings of High Color Rendering and Fidelity Index

21 May 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a lighting technology with a huge and ascending market. Typically, LED backlights are often paired with inorganic phosphors made from rare-earth elements (REEs) to tune the emission lineshapes for different applications. However, REE production is a resource-intensive process with many negative environmental impacts. Herein we develop organic hybrid LEDs using organic dyes synthesized from an abundant and non-toxic natural product (theobromine) to replace REE phosphors. The resulting hybrid LED generates continuous emission from 400 – 740 nm, resulting in high color rendering index (the current industry standard) of 90 and color fidelity index (the most advanced and comprehensive standard) of 92, challenging commercial LEDs based on REE phosphors. In addition, the light-converting composite is made from 99 wt% SBS, an inexpensive industrial polymer, and 1wt% theobromine dyes, reducing the cost of the light converter to ¢1.30 for a 1 W LED, compared to approximately ¢ 19.2 of commercial products. The light converting efficiency of the dye-SBS composite is 82%. Excited state kinetics experiments were also conducted to provide guidance to further increase the light-converting efficiency of the theobromine dyes while maintaining excellent color rendering and fidelity.


light quality
direct arylation
green chemistry
natural product

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information


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