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Secretary of Energy Announces $5 Million for Solid State Lighting Research

October 5, 2006 - 9:08am


ALBUQUERQUE, NM - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced the selection of seven projects, valued at nearly $5 million, for Solid State Lighting (SSL) research in nanotechnology.  SSL has the potential to more than double the efficiency of general lighting systems, reducing overall U.S. energy consumption and saving consumers money.  Sandia National Laboratory is expected to receive approximately $2.6 million of the total funding.  This funding comes from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

"Following the President's call for new technology in the Advanced Energy Initiative, the research for Solid State Lighting represents not only the next generation of lighting but a focus on energy efficient technology that will change the way we power our nation," Secretary Bodman said.

Secretary Bodman made the announcement while hosting a press conference with New Mexico Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, and Congresswoman Heather Wilson (NM-1st) at DOE's Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque. 

By 2025, DOE expects to develop advanced SSL technologies that are 50 percent more efficient, last longer, and are cost-competitive compared to conventional lighting technologies that accurately reproduce sunlight.  This SSL nanotechnology research will include scientific efforts to gain more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of nanometer scale phenomena for the specific application of SSL.

Unlike incandescent and fluorescent lamps, solid-state lighting creates light without producing heat.  A semi-conducting material converts electricity directly into light, which maximizes the light's energy efficiency.  Solid-state lighting includes a variety of light-producing semiconductor devices.  SSL includes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).  LEDs are found in all kinds of devices; they form numbers on digital clocks, light up watches, and transmit information from remote controls.  Consumers may also see LEDs in brake lights, traffic signals and exit signs.  OLED technology is more commonly used commercially, for example in small screens for mobile phones, portable digital music players, and digital cameras.

The following projects have been selected:

Sandia National Laboratory: Development of White LEDs
This project proposes to develop blends of oxide nanophosphors and semiconductor quantum dots in encapsulants to produce high conversion efficiency white-emitting blends with a variety of correlated color temperatures and good color rendering index. The ultimate goal of this research is to produce white LEDs containing nanophosphor-QD blends that are superior to LEDs made with QDs or traditional phosphors alone.
Project funding: $599,757

Sandia National Laboratory: Investigation of Surface Plasmon Mediated Emission from InGaN LEDs using Nano-patterned Metal Films.
This project proposes to develop a high efficiency LED structure taking advantage of surface plasmons.  Surface plasmons are electromagnetic waves at the interface between a metal and dielectric (semiconductor) which have been shown to improve light emission by as much as 90 times in specialized, optically pumped LED structures.  This project aims to develop electrically injected devices which benefit from the plasmon effect.
Project funding: $795,000

Sandia National Laboratory: Nanowire Templated Lateral Epitaxial Growth of Low Dislocation Density GaN.
This project proposes to develop decreased defect density GaN substrates enabling higher efficiency LED devices.  This goal is to be accomplished by developing growth techniques for GaN nanowires which are then induced to grow laterally and coalesce into a high quality planar film.
Project funding: $616,000 

Sandia National Laboratory: Nanostructural Engineering of Nitride Nucleation Layers for GaN Substrate Dislocation Reduction
This project proposes to develop MOCVD growth methods to further reduce GaN dislocation densities on sapphire which inhibit device efficiencies.  This study will first firmly establish the correlation between the nuclei density and dislocation density. Following this, methods to reduce the nuclei density while still maintaining the ability to fully coalesce the GaN films will be investigated.
Project funding: $605,000

Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Low-Cost Nano-engineered Transparent Electrodes for Highly Efficient OLED Lighting.
This proposal addresses two challenges whose solution is crucial to improve the efficiency of organic-LEDs: enhanced internal quantum efficiency via control over the singlet/triplet ratio, and enhanced carrier transport through poorly conducting organic materials by using carbon nano-tubes as low-cost transparent electrodes.
Project funding: $600,000

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Hybrid Nanoparticle/Organic Semiconductors for Efficient Solid State Lighting
The objective of this project is to establish a new class of high efficiency, low-voltage, stable hybrid OLEDs for general illumination.  This new class of hybrid OLEDs will be fabricated from organic/inorganic nanoparticle composite semiconductors.
Project funding: $800,000

Argonne National Laboratory: Low Cost Transparent Conducting Nanoparticle Networks for OLED Electrodes.
Development of transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) is critical for OLED device efficiency.  This project proposes an innovative transparent conducting layer consisting of a self assembled network of conducting particles whose nanometer dimensions and large open area ratios make them much more transparent for a given electrical conductivity than conventional TCOs.
Project funding: $956,100

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940