A Scottish university project has made a crucial development in micro-LED technology, which is likely to greatly advance the manufacture of smaller and smaller projectors.

Technology company, mLED, which is a spin-off from Strathclyde University, has unveiled its tiniest lighting cells so far, measuring just one-fiftieth of a millimetre across.

Each light comprises several thousand LED elements, each measuring just 20 micrometres, which can create specified patterns of light without external components.

There is enormous scope for the use of such cells, including communications, neuroscience, the study of biological cells, and for handheld or phone handset projectors.

Dr Jim Bonar, mLED’s chief executive, said, "The power density, versatility and compactness of micro-LEDs makes them ideally suited for these applications."

The micro-LEDs are also more compact and have better beam quality and faster operating speeds than their macro counterparts. Their first commercial application is expected to be in printing, as well as in neuroscience in an as yet unpatented process.

mLED is currently dispatching test kits to relevant clients and companies to let them see the possibilities the technology offers for themselves.

Simon Andrews, business development manager at Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonic, said, "The challenge has been to narrow down the applications. That’s why we’re taking the strategy of sending out demo units and letting people feed back to us."

The project has been enabled by a £150,000 development grant from Braveheart Investment Group.