Deciphering Limitations to Meet Highly Stable Bio-Hybrid Light-Emitting Diodes

Verónica Fernández-Luna, Daniel Sánchez-de Alcázar, Juan P. Fernández-Blázquez, Aitziber L. Cortajarena, Pedro B. Coto, Rubén D. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Color down-converting filters with fluorescent proteins (FPs) embedded in a polymer matrix have led to new bio-hybrid light-emitting diodes (Bio-HLEDs), featuring stabilities of 100 h and <1 min at low and high applied currents, respectively. Herein, the FP deactivation mechanism in Bio-HLEDs at high driving currents is deciphered. Primarily, the nonradiative energy relaxation of FPs upon excitation promotes the release of excess energy to the polymer matrix, reaching 60 °C and, in turn, a significant thermal emission quenching. This is circumvented by changing the device architecture, achieving stabilities of >300 h at high driving currents. Here, the photoinduced deactivation mechanism takes place, consisting of a slow and reversible partial dehydration followed by a quick and irreversible deactivation of the highly emissive ionic form. This is supported by steady-state/time-resolved emission, circular dichroism, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopic techniques. Overall, the limitations of Bio-HLEDs concerning matrix, buffers, device design, and FP stability are highlighted as key aspects to achieve efficient and stable devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1904356
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number42
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • bio-hybrid light-emitting diodes
  • color down-converting filters
  • fluorescent proteins
  • hybrid light-emitting diodes
  • thermal and photo-deactivation mechanisms


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