Cree receives ATP award to develop white LED lamp

Cree has received US government funding to demonstrate a white LED lamp package with high brightness and high efficiency and significantly reduced cost per lumen.

The US Commerce Department's Advanced Technology Program (ATP) has announced a number of awards, including one for Cree and its partner Nanocrystal Lighting to develop a white LED lamp package.

The ATP, which is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), announced 32 new projects representing a total of up to $80.1 million in ATP funding and an industry share of up to $56.9 million, if all projects are carried through to completion.

Among these is an award to LED chip and lamp manufacturer Cree to demonstrate a white LED lamp package with an integrated chip approach that would more than quadruple the brightness and double the efficiency of existing LED systems and significantly reduce the cost per lumen.

The 3-year project is expected to cost a total of almost $7 million, of which the ATP will contribute $3.38 million (see ATP Project Brief - Low Cost, High Efficiency Chip Scale LED Lamp).

Nanocrystal Lighting Corp. (Briarcliff Manor, NY), a startup formed to commercialize phosphor nanomaterials, will partner Cree in the project, in which high-efficiency blue LEDs from Cree will be combined with Nanocrystal's phosphors to develop white LEDs.

The efficiency, brightness and cost of large LED packages need to be improved before the technology can penetrate the lighting market. Cree and Nanocrystal Lighting plan to demonstrate novel integrated white LED lamps that more than quadruple the brightness and double the efficiency of existing LED lamps as well as significantly reduce the cost per lumen.

Significant breakthroughs are needed in both materials and fabrication technology to improve light extraction while controlling costs and improving the stability of the nanomaterials. The ATP has funded this joint venture because it feels that the technical challenges involved in developing integrated LED lamps and appropriate nanomaterials would be "virtually impossible for any single company to overcome by itself anytime soon".

The project has the ambitious aims of accelerating the development of affordable, solid-state white lighting by at least three years, as well as reducing the future price of white solid-state lighting by 50 percent.

Advanced Technology Program
The ATP supports projects that industry cannot fully fund on its own because of significant technical risks. ATP awards are made on the basis of rigorous, competitive peer review considering scientific and technical merit of each proposal. In addition, awards are based on the potential for broad-based economic benefits, the need for ATP funding, and evidence of a clear commercialization pathway and broad diffusion.

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