The CSEM (Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique SA) research organizations based in Switzerland has announced the LASSIE-FP7 (Large Area Solid State Intelligent Efficient luminaires) project that over three years will seek to develop a new solid-state lighting (SSL) planar module for high-end luminaires. The European Union (EU) provided EUR 3.15 million ($4.3 million) for the project that will seek to use a hybrid of inorganic and organic technologies thereby delivering the efficacy and long life of high-power LEDs and the color-tunable diffuse lighting of OLED panels.
CSEM implied that while LEDs are succeeding in general lighting applications, the relatively small point sources would always prove problematic in some demanding architectural and professional applications. OLEDs, meanwhile, remain far too expensive for mainstream usage as we covered in a recent feature article.
CSEM hopes that the answer is a hybrid approach. CSEM project coordinator Rolando Ferrini said, "The development of new hybrid SSL modules, combining the extremely high efficiency and long lifetime of inorganic LEDs with innovative color-changing coatings based on reliable and stable organic fluorescent dyes, will provide new devices that go beyond the current technological boundaries of SSL."
While the intent of the program is development of a module that can be sold in a luminaire, the participants will also leverage the work yielding innovative European-based SSL design and manufacturing capabilities. "The LASSIE-FP7 team includes a material supplier, R&D players with simulation capability, processing experts, component designers and manufacturers, integrators and testing infrastructure, and last but not least a vendor of innovative-lighting systems," said Ferrini.
In addition to CSEM, the participants include Fraunhofer of Germany, the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, Regent Lighting of Switzerland, BASF Schweiz of Switzerland, Gaiker of Spain, Marsica Information & Technology of Italy, and Amires of the Czech Republic. There are no details on how the participants will capitalize on the project individually, other than that Regent will build a luminaire, but each of the organizations will gain skills and capabilities that will help extend Europe's capacity for delivering new innovative products, according to Ferrini.
The time frame of the project is somewhat questionable with the rapid commercial advancement of both LED and OLED technology around the globe. Tunable light sources should be commonplace in three years and planar lighting will be as well whether the implementation is based on LED edge lighting, OLED technology, or some other approach.
"We are conscious that the SSL domain is evolving fast and some targets need to be reached fast under the market pressure," said Ferrini. "However, on the one hand LASSIE-FP7 targets a real breakthrough in terms of performance, which goes beyond the current expected three-year roadmap for SSL." He also said that some of the interim developments of the research could be commercialized during the three-year term of the project.
Ferrini was unwilling to disclose many more details about what the module might look like or how it would be implemented, citing the need to patent the developments. CSEM did say that the target is the use of roll-to-roll manufacturing -- a technique that has been seen as one key way to lower OLED manufacturing costs. For example, the European based Holst Center has been working on such manufacturing on flexible substrates. But for now the success that has been achieved in OLEDs has been in batch processing.