DOE selects research center, funds new projects

Oct. 9, 2006
The US DOE has selected a National Laboratory Center for Solid-State Lighting Research and Development and is investing $5 million in R&D projects relating to LEDs and nanotechnology.
Meanwhile, back in the lab... The US Department of Energy has selected a National Laboratory Center for Solid-State Lighting Research and Development, and has also announced $5 million in funding for projects to be carried out at its national laboratories.

The National Laboratory Center provides technical administrative support for competitively selected solid-state lighting (SSL) research projects in nanotechnology, and will be run by the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), jointly operated by Sandia and Los Alamos.

The announcement was made at Sandia Labs by US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman, who also revealed that DOE will provide funding of $5 million for seven research projects in solid-state lighting, including $2.6 million for four Sandia projects. The funding comes from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“The research will be conducted at the new nanotechnology centers at our national laboratories,” Bodman said. “This is part of nearly $20 million we are committing this year to support research and development efforts in this rapidly emerging technology.”

Bodman said that solid-state lighting offers excellent prospects for meeting future lighting needs in a less costly, more efficient way than today’s incandescent and even fluorescent fixtures. He added "We at the Department of Energy want to see it fully developed as quickly as possible."

Bodman also said that solid-state lighting presents an excellent opportunity for the US to assume a leadership role in an emerging industry that can generate thousands of high-paying, high quality jobs in the years ahead. Other speakers noted the importance in reducing the consumption of crude oil from overseas.

New projects
The seven new projects funded by the DOE are as follows:

Recipient: Sandia National Laboratories
Title: Development of White LEDs using Nanophosphor InP Blends
Summary: This project proposes to develop blends of oxide nanophosphors and semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) 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.

Recipient: Sandia National Laboratories
Title: Investigation of Surface Plasmon Mediated Emission from InGaN LEDs using Nano-patterned Metal Films
Summary: 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.

Recipient: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Title: Low-Cost Nano-engineered Transparent Electrodes for Highly Efficient OLED Lighting
Summary: This project addresses two challenges crucial to improving 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.

Recipient: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Title: Hybrid Nanoparticle/Organic Semiconductors for Efficient Solid-State Lighting
Summary: 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.

Recipient: Sandia National Laboratories
Title: Nanostructural Engineering of Nitride Nucleation Layers for GaN Substrate Dislocation Reduction
Summary: 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.

Recipient: Sandia National Laboratories
Title: Nanowire Templated Lateral Epitaxial Growth of Low Dislocation Density GaN
Summary: 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.

Recipient: Argonne National Laboratory
Title: Low Cost Transparent Conducting Nanoparticle Networks for OLED Electrodes
Summary: 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.