DOE Announces Selections for SSL R&D Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the competitive selection of nine projects for solid-state lighting (SSL), in response to the SSL R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000973. The one- to two-year projects will focus on the areas of Core Technology Research, which involves the application of fundamental scientific concepts to SSL technology; and Product Development, which involves using the knowledge gained from basic or applied research to develop or improve commercially viable SSL materials, devices, or systems. Total DOE funding for the nine projects is nearly $10.5 million and leverages a cost-share contribution from each recipient, for a total public-private investment of more than $13.7 million.

This is the ninth round of DOE investments in solid-state lighting Core Technology Research and Product Development. These efforts are part of DOE's initiative to accelerate the adoption of SSL technology through improvements that reduce costs while maintaining product quality and performance. Although none of this year's selections focuses on U.S. Manufacturing R&D, DOE remains committed to funding SSL projects that accelerate SSL technology adoption through manufacturing innovations and improvements that reduce costs and enhance quality and consistency. The selections are listed below (final details are subject to negotiations):

Recipient: Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Title: Novel Transparent Phosphor Conversion Matrix with High Thermal Conductivity for Next-Generation Phosphor-Converted LED-based Solid State Lighting
Summary: This project plans to address the issue of localized phosphor heating through the development of an improved phosphor matrix to include materials that increase the thermal conductivity >5 times over standard matrix materials. Improved thermal control allows for higher drive current and lumen output in LEDs, reducing the price of light ($/klm) by as much as 50–60%.

Recipient: Cree, Inc. (Durham, NC)
Title: Scalable, Economical Fabrication Processes for Ultra-compact Warm-White LEDs
Summary: This project will develop a new low-cost, high-efficiency light emitting diode (LED) architecture which will be enabled through modification to the conventional LED fabrication process flow in a manner that results in increased throughput and yield for ultra-compact packages. These processes will be developed to be broadly deployed into Cree's various LED production lines benefiting platforms ranging from bulbs to troffers.

Recipient: Momentive Performance Materials Quartz, Inc. (Strongsville, OH)
Title: Next-Generation LED Package Architectures Enabled by Thermally Conductive Transparent Encapsulants
Summary: This project will develop next-generation LED package architectures enabled by thermally conductive composite encapsulant materials utilizing boron nitride (BN). Nanoscale boron nitride enables high thermal conductivity encapsulants that maintain optical properties. The high thermal conductivity encapsulants facilitate higher drive current (and therefore higher lumen output) at the same operating temperature and same device cost.

Recipient: OLEDWorks, LLC (Rochester, NY)
Title: High-Performance OLED Panel and Luminaire
Summary: This project seeks to develop and integrate the cost effective manufacturing technologies necessary to achieve the Department of Energy's performance and cost targets, demonstrated on a large scale. Specifically, this project will address both OLED low-cost electrode structures and panel light extraction approaches; using a system approach to determine the best combination of component technologies necessary to deliver the desired product performance.

Recipient: Philips Lumileds Lighting Company, LLC (San Jose, CA)
Title: High-Voltage LED Light Engine with Integrated Driver
Summary: This project will develop a high-voltage light engine integrating low-cost, high-power patterned sapphire substrate flip-chip (PSS-FC) architecture LEDs with optimized driver topologies. The integrated light engine will enable comprehensive luminaire system cost reduction through reduction of the LED package cost, lower component count, reduced weight and size of the luminaire housing, and simplified assembly processes. Luminaire efficacy improvement will be provided by the PSS-FC architecture as well as higher efficiency of the integrated LED-driver combination.

Recipient: Philips Research North America, LLC (Briarcliff Manor, NY)
Title: Innovative Patient Room Lighting System with Integrated Spectrally Adaptive Control
Summary: This project will develop an innovative LED patient suite (patient room and bathroom) lighting system solution that is energy-efficient and will meet all the visual and non-visual needs of patients, caregivers, and visitors. The solution will be built upon application- and stakeholder-driven value propositions that consider 21st century design best practices, end-user and owner attitudes and expectations, visual and nonvisual needs, health and well-being, and policy and regulatory requirements.

Recipient: Pixelligent Technologies, LLC (Baltimore, MD)
Title: Advanced Light Extraction Structure for OLED Lighting
Summary: This project will develop a novel internal light extraction (ILE) design to improve the light extraction efficiency of OLED lighting devices to 70% without negatively impacting the device voltage, efficacy, or angular color dependence. The innovative structure is based on proprietary sub-10 nm ZrO2 nanocrystals as a high refractive index additive for polymer systems.

Recipient: Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Title: ITO-free White OLEDs on Flexible Substrates with Enhanced Light Outcoupling
Summary: This project will integrate multiple aspects of outcoupling enhancement within one OLED structure such that the enhancement is greater than the sum of its parts owing to a holistic approach that treats the system as a whole rather than multiple approaches spliced together. The goal is to demonstrate that the various technological components integrated together can achieve >60% outcoupling efficiency, a full 3 times greater than a conventional glass/ITO structure.

Recipient: University of California (Los Angeles, CA)
Title: The Approach to Low-Cost High-Efficiency OLED Lighting
Summary: This project will develop an integrated plastic substrate to replace the indium tin oxide transparent anode, glass substrate, internal and external light extraction structures for the fabrication of organic light emitting diodes with improved energy efficiency and reduced manufacture cost when scaled up in production. The effort will focus on the synthesis and iteration of the integrated substrate to match the sheet resistance and surface smoothness of high-grade ITO/glass, but with a 200% enhancement of light extraction.