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$5 million for Sandia's LED research drive

In a bid to reduce over-consumption of crude oil from overseas, the US Department of Energy commits $5 million for seven research projects focused on solid-state lighting technology.

Sandia National Laboratories is to spearhead a major part of the drive to develop LED-based lighting as the new home of the National Center for Solid-State Lighting Research and Development.

Seven research projects, four of which are based at Sandia, will share $5 million in Department of Energy (DoE) funds from the government agency's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Much of the work will take place at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), a research network operated by Albuquerque-based Sandia and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

DoE secretary Samuel Bodman said solid-state lighting promised to reduce dramatically the cost and energy consumption associated with lighting in the US. "We at the DoE want to see it fully developed as quickly as possible," he added.

A variety of government dignitaries took a tour of the Sandia facility, including its MBE and MOCVD equipment, and all were keen to stress the importance and potential of LED lighting as the US attempts to wean itself off of crude oil.

Local Senator Pete Domenici also highlighted the potential for commercial developments. "There will be spin-offs from this research. The labs involved will find the longest waiting list they ve ever seen for partners from industry and academia eager to collaborate on research projects."

"It s going to be rather exciting to watch," he added.

The DoE has already sponsored a wealth of research and development activity in LED lighting through its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) programs (see related stories).

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