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US invests a further $13.3 m in solid-state lighting

Cree, Sandia National Labs, and the University of California, Santa Barbara spin-out Inlustra Corporation are among the winners of the Department of Energy's third funding round for solid state lighting.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has selected eight solid-state lighting (SSL) research and product development projects that will receive total funding of $13.3 million.

Two of the projects from this third round initiative (see related stories for earlier funding rounds) will share $5.5 million of funding, and will be focussed on developing or improving commercially viable materials, devices or systems.

The other six projects, which share a $7.8 million pot, will aim to close key technology gaps and significantly advance the SSL technology base.

Cree is running one of the product-focused projects, which require a 29 percent cost input from the recipient, and will use the cash to develop a platform for high efficiency commercial luminaires. The ultimate goal of the two year project is to produce a 110 lm/W lamp module emitting at a color temperature of 4100K that can be integrated into a 1400 lumen luminaire.

The other product-related project, which is being pursued by General Electric, involves building an organic LED (OLED) white-light source with an area of 0.35m2 that has an output comparable to that of a standard 60W incandescent lamp.

OLEDs also feature in two of the six research projects that require a 20 percent contribution from the participants, but the other four involve compound semiconductor chip development.

One of these projects, which is headed by Inlustra Corporation, a spin-out of the University of California, Santa Barbara, is aiming to improve the internal quantum efficiency of blue and particularly green InGaN LEDs using non-polar GaN planes. UCSB, which has already delivered significant breakthroughs with non-polar devices (see related stories), will also be involved in this effort.

Another project, which is being run by Sandia National Laboratories, is targeting improvements in growth efficiency and control of indium incorporation, which should lead to an increase in InGaN internal quantum efficiency.

The remaining projects involve a collaboration led by Yale University, and involving Brown University, which is aiming to enhance LED device efficiency using nanotexturing, and a project headed by Carnegie Mellon University, which is supported by the University of Michigan, that hopes to improve LED efficiency by solving fundamental issues of semiconductor physics.

Success in these eight projects will push the DoE towards its 2025 goal of developing advanced SSL technologies that have a product system efficiency of 50 percent, with lighting that accurately reproduces a sunlight spectrum.

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