U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Building Technologies Office – R&D Projects

Research Highlights 2011-2012

Image of KLA-Tencor's Candela 8620 inspection tool

KLA-Tencor's Inspection Tool Reduces LED Manufacturing Costs

With the help of DOE funding, KLA-Tencor is developing an improved inspection tool for LED manufacturing that promises to significantly increase overall process yields and minimize expensive waste. The project is based around KLA-Tencor's Candela inspection technology and includes the successful realization of several significant technical enhancements that have improved defect sensitivity. The new tools are currently being used by a number of key manufacturers as part of the project evaluation stage. (March 2011) Learn more.

Solid-state lighting device

DOE Investment Yields R&D 100 Award Winner in Energy-Efficient Lighting

RTI International's nanofiber lighting improvement technology (NLITe™) has been honored with a 2011 R&D 100 Award. Established in 1963 by the editors of R&D Magazine, the annual R&D 100 Awards identify the 100 most significant, newly introduced research and development advances of the past year in multiple disciplines. (June 2011) Learn more.

Image of Veeco's MaxBrightTM multireactor system

Veeco Develops Tools to Drive Down HBLED Costs

Veeco is working in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories and Philips Lumileds to drive down the cost of high-brightness LEDs by implementing process simulation tools and by improving temperature measurement and control methods to increase MOCVD yield. (August 2011) Learn more.

Photo of a kitchen countertop showing the sink, backsplash, and upper and lower cabinets. A vase of flowers, blender, and two small groups of fruits and vegetables sit on the counter. An array of OLED lighting panels are lit under the upper row of cabinets.

UDC Develops Prototype High-Efficiency OLED Undercabinet Luminaire

Universal Display Corporation (UDC) has demonstrated the real-world application of a novel lighting technology by developing two pre-prototype OLED undercabinet lighting systems that exceed 420 total lumens at an efficacy of more than 55 lm/W, with an estimated lifetime (LT70) in excess of 10,000 hours, and a color rendering index (CRI) greater than 85. (September 2011) Learn more.

Image showing the interior mechanism of a Philips LED driver

Philips Light Sources & Electronics is Developing an Efficient, Smaller, Cost-Effective Family of LED Drivers

With the help of DOE funding, Philips Light Sources & Electronics is developing a new family of LED drivers that are more efficient and cost-effective as well as smaller in size than currently available drivers. The new drivers are switch-mode power supplies that are similar to today's drivers, but with an improved design. In addition, they have a different topology—boost plus LLC—for wattages of 40W and above, but retain the commonly used flyback topology at lower wattages. (April 2012) Learn more.

Close-up image of one OSRAM Sylvania 2'x2' LED replacement troffer

OSRAM SYLVANIA Develops High-Efficiency LED Troffer Replacement

With the help of DOE funding, OSRAM SYLVANIA is developing a high-efficiency LED 2'x2' troffer replacement that is expected to be commercially available in the spring of 2012 and to be cost-competitive with existing troffers of that size. It is projected to have a light output of up to 4,000 lumens, an efficacy of more than 100 lm/W, and a CCT of 3500K. (April 2012) Learn more.

Conceptual image of UDC PHOLED luminaires installed in a ceiling above a row of office cubicles

UDC Teaming with Acuity to Make Commercial-Sector PHOLED Luminaire

With support from DOE's Small Business Innovation Research program, Universal Display Corporation (UDC) is working with Acuity Brands Lighting to make an efficient, color-tunable luminaire for use in the commercial sector using UDC's proprietary phosphorescent OLED (PHOLEDTM) technology. The present project aims to adapt this technology—which increases the energy efficiency of OLEDs by as much as fourfold—to high-end commercial and institutional building applications. (April 2012) Learn more.

Researcher standing in front of DuPont Displays' nozzle printer

DuPont Displays Develops Low-Cost Method of Printing OLED Panels

DuPont Displays Inc. (DDI) has developed a novel way of printing color-tunable OLED lighting panels that keeps manufacturing costs low. The method involves processing the organic layers from solution, with most of the process steps taking place under atmospheric conditions rather than in a high vacuum. Industry-standard slot-coating methods are used in conjunction with nozzle printing—in which the solutions of organic materials are continuously jetted through an array of nozzles moving at high speed—allowing the light-emitting materials to be spatially patterned. (April 2012) Learn more.

Image of two WhiteOptics luminaires with high-reflectance composite coating.

WhiteOptics' Low-Cost Reflector Composite Boosts LED Fixture Efficiency

With the help of DOE funding, WhiteOptics has developed a composite coating that can be used to improve efficiency in backlit, indirect, and cavity-mixing LED luminaire designs by maximizing light reflection and output. The highly diffuse coating, which is based on a novel high-reflectance particle technology, allows for uniform distribution of light without exaggerating the point-source nature of the LEDs, and is intended to offer an overall system cost-improving solution for LED optics. (April 2012) Learn more.

Photo showing the detailed interior of an MOCVD chamber in an epitaxial growth system.

Applied Materials Develops an Advanced Epitaxial Growth System to Bring Down LED Costs

With the help of DOE funding, Applied Materials has developed an advanced epitaxial growth system for gallium nitride (GaN) LED devices that decreases operating costs, increases internal quantum efficiency, and improves binning yields. The method uses a separate metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) chamber for each layer of the LED structure, which facilitates optimization, as well as a self-cleaning process that adds further efficiencies. (October 2012) Learn more.

Close-up image of six 150mm silicon wafers. The wafers are circular in shape and surround one white circle in the middle.

Philips Lumileds Is Exploring the Use of Silicon Substrates to Lower the Cost of LEDs

With the help of DOE funding, Philips Lumileds is exploring the use of nitride epitaxy on 150mm silicon substrates to produce low-cost, warm-white, high-performance general-illumination LEDs. Silicon is much cheaper and easier to obtain, and Philips Lumileds hopes to draw upon the knowledge base and depreciated equipment of the computer industry, which has used silicon substrates for decades. (October 2012) Learn more.

Photo of Veeco's physical vapor deposition tool.

Veeco Develops a Tool to Reduce Epitaxy Costs and Increase LED Brightness

With the help of DOE funding, Veeco is working on reducing epitaxy costs and increasing LED efficiency by developing a physical vapor deposition (PVD) tool for depositing aluminum nitride buffer layers on LED substrates. The project aims to reduce epitaxy costs by 60 percent due to higher throughput, lower defect density, and reduced yield loss from wafer bow and temperature variations. (October 2012) Learn more.

Photo of Ultratech's adapted lithography tool.

Ultratech Develops an Improved Lithography Tool for LED Wafer Manufacturing

Ultratech modified an existing lithography tool used for semiconductor manufacturing to better meet the cost and performance targets of the high-brightness LED manufacturing industry. Compared to conventional contact lithography, the tool has demonstrated increased device output and final yields and decreased re-work rate and capital expense. The tool was also proven to achieve a return on investment in only three to six months. (November 2012) Learn more.

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