A light-emitting transistor has set a new record, achieving a signal-processing modulation speed of 4.3 gigahertz.
Researchers from the University of Illinois also used the new technology to create a new form of LED that can modulate at up to seven gigahertz.
The previous record for signal-process modulation was held by an LED, which recorded a speed of 1.7 gigahertz.
Commenting in the research paper, published in the Applied Physics Letters journal, co-author Milton Feng explained that LEDs are not usually capable of achieving these high speeds.
He said: "Unlike a diode, a transistor does not store charge.
"Charges are delivered to the transistor's quantum well active region, where they either recombine almost instantly, or they are kept moving on out of the device."
Co-author Nick Holonyak added that the newly created LED, developed using the new transistor, offers "an attractive alternative for use in high-speed signal processing, optical communication systems and integrated optoelectronics".
The largest LED screen in the world was recently unveiled by the Dallas Cowboys at their American football stadium.