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LED companies win DOE funding boost

Crystal IS, Philips Lumileds, Luminus Devices and Cree are among the winners in the US Department of Energy's latest round of funding for solid-state lighting technology development.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has funded a further 13 core research and product development projects in its fourth round of awards focused on solid-state lighting (SSL) technology.

The total value of the new projects is $27.9 million, although a substantial portion of that total will be provided as a cost-share by the contributing companies involved.

Selected as part of the National Energy Technology Laboratory s goal to develop SSL for general illumination by the year 2025, the awards include five projects focused on core LED technologies "“ of which three directly involve compound semiconductor research.

They include a collaboration between Philips Lumileds and Crystal IS to develop AlN substrates suitable for blue LED fabrication. The goal of this project is to produce GaN-ready material with a defect density below 105cm-2 for high-quality LED fabrication.

Other basic technology projects with funding involve Luminus Devices and Georgia s Institute of Technology, who will work together to gain a better understanding of the impact that strain, defects, polarization effects and Stokes loss have on the internal quantum efficiency of LEDs.

Meanwhile, researchers at Lehigh University will tackle one of the enduring problems in LED technology "“ that of fabricating high-efficiency green emitters. The team at Lehigh will work on improving green LEDs by growing what they describe as "staggered" InGaN quantum wells.

In a separate funding stream, Sandia s National Laboratory will also focus on the green gap. It is set to develop a novel analytical platform called deep level optical spectroscopy (DLOS) - an approach that should be capable of interrogating deep levels throughout the InGaN bandgap.

Under the more commercial focus of six projects selected for product development awards, Cree has won backing to develop a high-efficiency, low-cost white LED component capable of replacing conventional lights.

Cree s rival Philips Lumileds also won funding for product development, and is slated to deliver prototype warm-white LEDs with a luminous efficacy of 135 lm/W and a color rendering index higher than 90.

General Electric s Lumination subsidiary and Osram s Sylvania Development will also be working on SSL luminaire development with new funds.

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