DOE Awards Three Grants to SSL Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have awarded three Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants targeting advances in solid-state lighting (SSL) technology. These Phase I grants will explore the technical merit and commercial potential of different innovative concepts or technologies that are expected to contribute to the achievement of the price and performance goals described in DOE’s SSL R&D Plan.

The SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program seeks to increase the participation of small businesses in federal R&D. To learn more about this program, visit

The three awards are briefly summarized below:

SBIR Recipient: Lucent Optics, Inc.
Title: Ultra-Thin Flexible LED Lighting Panels

Summary: This project will develop and demonstrate a revolutionary new type of thin and flexible SSL panel that combines the high luminous efficacy and low cost of LEDs with the ultra-thin form factor and flexibility of OLEDs. The proposed approach extends the principle of edge-lit LED lighting to optical light guides of film thickness to achieve conformable illumination panels that emit a soft, uniform beam over the entire surface area. It employs a novel optical coupling technology that allows for efficient injection of light into light-guiding substrates having much smaller thicknesses than the size of current LED sources. This material-efficient approach for manufacturing lighting panels is also expected to lower the cost of wide-area LED luminaires by up to 30% compared to the state of the art. In Phase I, Lucent Optics will conduct a feasibility study of the panel, develop a functional pilot prototype, and evaluate its performance.

SBIR Recipient: Lumisyn, LLC
Title: LED Downconverter Phosphor Chips Containing Nanocrystals

Summary: A major roadblock to higher efficiencies for warm-white LEDs is the use of spectrally wide red-emitting phosphors that emit a significant amount of their energy either in the far-red or infrared part of the spectrum, where the human eye’s response is low. This common design can produce the desired warmer light, but at the expense of lower efficiency. Colloidal nanocrystals are a candidate solution but today suffer from unwanted quenching of the quantum efficiency with concurrent increases in their emission spectral width at the elevated temperatures and excitation levels that are attained during operation of high-power LEDs. This project proposes a new and novel use of existing nanocrystals incorporated into low-cost inorganic-based encapsulant materials. Candidate encapsulant materials will be synthesized, analyzed for performance, and then optimized to enable the maximum efficiency and lifetime. The goal for Phase I is to demonstrate encapsulated nanocrystals used in conjunction with green-yellow phosphors that will achieve a 3x efficacy increase  and that will maintain their high-performance optical properties while significantly enhancing their long-term stability under typical LED accelerated-life test conditions.

SBIR Recipient: InnoSys, Inc.
Title: Lowering Barriers to Intelligent SSL Adoption Through a Combination of a Next Generation Installation/Configuration Software Platform and a Novel Luminaire

Summary: InnoSys will design and demonstrate the ability of a novel hardware and software application platform to dramatically simplify the installation, configuration, control, and analytics aspects of an intelligent lighting system, so that it can be self-commissioning and give users greater control of their lighting experience. To provide a platform for this unique approach, InnoSys will develop several configurations of a novel SSL luminaire for office spaces. Used in combination with the proposed software, this task-ambient lighting approach will yield significant lighting-energy conservation in office and other spaces. In Phase I, InnoSys will demonstrate how the combination of this novel luminaire family and unique and innovative secure software platform will enable a lighting system that is self-commissioning, dramatically more energy-efficient than conventional lighting, and highly user-experience driven to accelerate adoption of SSL and reduce energy consumption.

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