Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes (QLEDs) as Flexible, Wearable, Low-Cost Light Sources for Photomedicine

H. Chen, P. Palomaki, J. He, R. Lanzafame, I. Stadler, H. El Hamidi, H. Liu, J. Celli, M. Hamblin, Y. Huang, G. Shafirstein, H. Chung, S. Wu, Y. Dong
United States

Keywords: quantum dot LED, photomedicine, photodynamic therapy


Homogeneous, flexible light sources with pure, deep red color and sufficiently high power densities are necessary for more effective and widely used photodynamic therapy (PDT), but have been difficult to achieve with lasers or LED arrays at reasonably low cost. Quantum dot light emitting diodes (QLEDs) have outstanding wavelength tunability, ideal color purity, high power density, and unique form factors as thin, flexible, light weight and uniformly large area light sources, which will meet the pressing needs for PDT. We will present our research on developing QLEDs fabricated with emission wavelengths precisely tuned to match the absorption peaks of several FDA approved photosensitizers. Preliminary in-vitro studies with rigid on-glass QLEDs as photosensitizer activators demonstrate they can kill cancerous A431 cells or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with efficiency comparable or better than control LED sources, indicating their potential for PDT treatments of cancers or infections. Computer simulation of light propagation in a tissue mimicking phantom suggests that about 50% of the QLED power can be delivered to a depth of about 4 mm from the treated surface which is sufficient for treatment of deep wounds and near-skin cancerous cells. Recent progress on the fabrication of low-cost flexible, wearable QLEDs will be presented. Finally, the perspectives of using these devices for PDT to address medical conditions such as cancer treatment and wound repair will be discussed.