DOE Funds SSL Manufacturing R&D; Eliminates Two Other Opportunities
On June 7, 2012, DOE announced the competitive selection of three SSL R&D projects, in response to the SSL Manufacturing R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000561.
Due to funding limitations in FY12, DOE will not select or fund any projects in response to SSL Core Technology FOA DE-FOA-0000564 or SSL Product Development FOA DE-FOA-0000563. Although DOE received numerous quality proposals in response to these FOAs, SSL program funding for FY12 is impacted by Congressional direction, which specifically targeted manufacturing R&D. Congress has also directed DOE to use FY12 funds to fully fund the new multi-year projects, which further impacted the number of selections for FY12.
The DOE SSL program strategy and direction remain unchanged, and DOE continues to support SSL Core Technology Research and Product Development to improve the efficacy and quality of SSL. In light of these considerations, however, DOE will postpone the release of new solicitations for Core Technology Research and Product Development (which would normally be issued in summer 2012) until FY13, to gain a better idea of available funding.
The three 2-year projects projects selected, in response to the SSL Manufacturing R&D funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000561, will focus on achieving significant cost reductions while maintaining quality by improving manufacturing equipment, processes, or monitoring techniques. Total DOE funding for the three projects is $7.1 million and leverages an additional $5 million in private-sector funding from the three companies.
The selections are listed below (final details are subject to negotiations):
- Cree, Inc. (Durham, NC) Low-Cost LED Luminaire for General Illumination:
- This project plans to develop an optimized LED fixture design for efficient manufacture that can be readily integrated into buildings and outdoor applications and uses fewer raw materials—all without compromising the performance of the light source. The project builds upon Cree’s existing LED platform and has the potential to quickly reduce the cost of producing an already highly efficient LED fixture and allowing it to compete with existing fluorescent systems. The goal is to efficiently provide warm-white light over a minimum lifetime of 50,000 hours, while reducing the cost of manufacturing the major components and assembled products.
- KLA-Tencor (Milpitas, CA) High Throughput, High Precision Hot Testing Tool for HBLED Wafer Level Testing:
- This project plans to remove one of the major barriers to the adoption of high-efficiency LED lighting—namely, the difficulty of providing low-cost white light that has consistent color quality and brightness. Current practice is to separate LEDs according to color during the manufacturing process in order to maximize product yield. Unfortunately, this creates variation in light output and color quality of the product, leading to reduced performance and increased costs. KLA-Tencor seeks to improve the color consistency of LEDs by utilizing a measurement tool during manufacturing that reduces the variation in LED quality, improving performance and reducing cost.
- k-Space Associates (Dexter, MI) Optical Metrology for Volume OLED Manufacturing:
- Most monitoring of the OLED layers during the manufacturing process currently takes place after the fact, so that if problems are detected there’s little or no chance to change the production inputs. This project plans to create a more efficient manufacturing process by building on KSA’s existing optical monitoring technology to enable high-precision measurements of OLED layers during mass production. The tool will measure layer thickness and composition to ultimately control the efficiency, color, and lifetime of OLEDs. This development, a first for the industry, will serve as a platform for future large‐scale OLED production facilities, paving the way for a strong US presence in OLED manufacturing.
This is the third round of DOE investments in solid-state lighting manufacturing projects. These efforts are part of DOE’s initiative to accelerate the adoption of SSL technology through improvements that reduce costs while maintaining product quality and performance. They will play an important role in encouraging US-based manufacturing of SSL technologies—creating jobs, boosting exports, and promoting America’s role as a global leader in energy efficiency.