DOE SSL program offers up to $10m for manufacturing R&D projects

Sept. 27, 2011
The US Department of Energy has announced up to $10 million in its third round of funding for manufacturing R&D projects that should help to drive down the cost and improve the fabrication of LED and OLED lighting products.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the availability of up to $10 million in funding for solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies. The DOE will invest in projects to accelerate manufacturing research and development related to SSL technologies – including LEDs and organic LEDs.

The DOE will select between two and four projects that together will receive up to $10 million, and will focus on achieving significant cost reductions through improvements in manufacturing equipment, processes, or monitoring techniques.

This is the third round of funding directed toward the manufacturing R&D program area. To date, the DOE manufacturing R&D program has been supported with $28.2 million in federal funding and has leveraged $36.8 million in funding from the private sector.

The DOE will accept applications through December 15, 2011. There are four topic areas of interest for this funding opportunity, including:

  • Luminaire/module manufacturing
  • Test and inspection equipment
  • OLED deposition equipment
  • OLED materials manufacturing
Selected projects will address the technical challenges that must be overcome before SSL can compete with existing lighting on a first-cost basis. However, the funding opportunity announcement says that improvements to cost-influencing metrics through the proposed approach shall not come at the expense of product performance metrics such as efficacy or color quality.

In the second round of manufacturing R&D funding, Veeco Instruments and Moser Baer were awarded $4 million and $2.9 million, respectively. Veeco is exploring the use of aluminum nitride as a buffer layer for fabricating LEDs on silicon substrates. Moser Baer is developing OLED manufacturing at its plant in Cainandaigua, NY.