This chapter addresses the development of inorganic phosphor materials capable of converting the near UV or blue radiation emitted by a light emitting diode to visible radiation that can be suitably combined to yield white light. These materials are at the core of the new generation of solid-state lighting devices that are emerging as a crucial clean and energy saving technology. The chapter introduces the problem of white light generation using inorganic phosphors and the structure-property relationships in the broad class of phosphor materials, normally containing lanthanide or transition metal ions as dopants. Radiative and non-radiative relaxation mechanisms are briefly described. Phosphors emitting light of different colors (yellow, blue, green, and red) are described and reviewed, classifying them in different chemical families of the host (silicates, phosphates, aluminates, borates, and non-oxide hosts). This research field has grown rapidly and is still growing, but the discovery of new phosphor materials with optimized properties (in terms of emission efficiency, chemical and thermal stability, color, purity, and cost of fabrication) would still be of the utmost importance.
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