DOE Awards Seven SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Grants for SSL Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded six Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants and one Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant targeting advances in solid-state lighting (SSL) technology. The SBIR/STTR program seeks to increase the participation of small businesses in federal R&D. To learn more about the DOE Office of Science SBIR program, visit

Five projects awarded address LED and OLED SSL core technology research opportunities; one project award addresses SSL manufacturing innovations; and the last project integrates advanced controls technologies with SSL drivers.

The Phase I awards are briefly described below:

Recipient: TDA Research Inc.
Title: Self-Assembled Rare Earth Doped Nanostructured Metal Aluminate Phosphors
Summary: For blue- and UV-emitting LEDs, white light emission depends on advances in new, more efficient phosphors that can be tuned to provide a broad range of white light and a high color rendering index. This project will develop a new synthetic approach for producing highly tunable, self-assembled nanostructured aluminate phosphors. This enabling technology will allow the phosphors to easily dope a wide range of metal aluminate hosts and then combine into a single luminescent particle.

Recipient: Cermet Inc.
Title: Nonpolar Green LEDs Based on InGaN
Summary: This project strives to develop a green LED that produces the most amount of green light with the least possible input power by addressing key limitations in current green LED technologies. Research will target reduction of defect densities in high indium InGaN layers, control indium segregation and polarity, and increasing hole concentration.

Recipient: MicroContinuum Inc.
Title: Roll-to-Roll Process for Transparent Metal Electrodes in OLED Manufacturing
Summary: This project will develop roll-to-roll manufacturing processes that can produce low-cost, high-resolution patterns in conductive (and non-conductive) layers on flexible polymeric substrates that can reduce or eliminate many of the concerns with conductive layers currently in use. This breakthrough technology could potentially drive down the manufacturing cost of OLEDs to be competitive with other lighting and display products.

Recipient: Solarno Inc.
Title: Bright White Tandem OLED with Carbon Nanotube Hole Injecting Interlay
Summary: This project aims to develop innovative nanotechnology for fabrication of high-efficiency OLEDs that use existing well-developed and low-cost technologies. Specifically, the project will fabricate tandem OLED devices using carbon nanotube hole injecting interlayer and parallel connections to the electroluminescent materials. Use of carbon nanotube sheets as interconnecting layers should simplify the fabrication process. Further, the parallel configuration will reduce operating current and increase device lifetime.

Recipient: Universal Display Corp.
Title: Novel High Performance Permeation Barrier for Long Lifetime Flexible OLED Lighting
Summary: OLEDs degrade in the presence of oxygen or water, so hermetic seals are required to ensure long lifetime. Using a newly discovered material system that forms an ultra-hermetic, flexible, transparent environmental barrier layer, this project will apply the barrier technology to plastic substrates to enable high-volume, low-cost PHOLED lighting. Ultimately, the project aims to establish the feasibility of increasing capacity and efficacy of Grid-Independent Photovoltaic (PV) Solid-State Lighting (SSL) systems while simultaneously reducing operating costs and risks for larger-scale applications such as roadway, parking lot, and temporary/emergency illumination.

Recipient: Universal Display Corp.
Title: Ultra High Efficiency Phosphorescent OLED Lighting
Summary: This project will demonstrate a 120 lm/W WOLEDTM by optimizing material combinations that enable low-voltage PHOLED operation fabricated on high index substrates that also enable high out coupling efficiency. Extraction of light in an efficient, cost-effective manner remains a significant challenge in using low-cost White OLEDs (WOLEDs) as a lighting source. This project will increase OLED conversion efficiency of electrical energy into light, ultimately leading to high-efficiency, environment-friendly, solid-state, white-lighting sources that can replace incandescent bulbs.

Recipient: Redwood Systems
Title: Auto-Commissioning and Auto-Discovery Control System for Solid-State Lighting
Summary: This project will develop a lighting network that is intelligent, automated, scalable, and can potentially save 50% to 75% of the energy used to light commercial office spaces. Using the low-voltage, DC current required for SSL, this project will employ centralized LED light drivers—possibly deployed in each light fixture—networked into a system-level power and control appliance net using standard Category 5 cable. With fine-grained control, sensing and network access, project system commissioning should be much faster and cheaper than existing systems.