Wilmington, Del.-based– DuPont has been awarded a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a two-year project to develop a solid-state lighting (SSL) source using low-cost organic light-emitting diode (OLED) solution-processing manufacturing techniques.

The project will leverage DuPont’s experience in OLED development for displays, while tailoring the technology to the unique requirements for SSL, an advanced technology that can significantly reduce energy consumption compared with incandescent and fluorescent lamps. Solution-processing is a cost-effective technique for the manufacture of OLEDs due to its lower capital investment, reduced fixed costs, and efficient use of materials. The benefits are seen through manufacturing large areas at low cost while delivering completely new, highly efficient lighting concepts.

"The DOE is pleased to support DuPont in its work to further advance the science in OLED SSL and play an important role in eventually commercializing the technology,” says James Brodrick, lighting program manager for the DOE. "We have made a long-term commitment to advance the development and introduction of energy-efficient white lighting sources for general illumination."

The project also reflects DuPont’s recently announced commitment to focus on meeting four emerging global trends, one of which is decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.

"We appreciate the DOE's support for our research program to develop low-cost, energy-efficient OLED lighting solutions that have the potential to transform the lighting market," says William F. Feehery, global business director for DuPont OLEDs. "DuPont has extensive experience in development of cost-effective solution processing for OLEDs used in displays. Through our collaboration with DOE, we will leverage our resources and minimize the need to develop new processing techniques to speed the development of solid-state OLED lighting."

According to the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance, over 20% of U.S. electrical energy in 2009 is used for lighting. The U.S. domestic market for lamps, ballasts, lighting fixtures, and lighting controls is $15 billion and $75 billion, globally. SSL technologies, which include OLEDs, have the potential to save 348 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity by 2030 compared with traditional light sources.

Compared to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are small point sources manufactured on relatively small semiconductor wafers, OLEDs have a surface area light source which can be made on large sheets of glass or in a roll-to-roll process, allowing significant economies in manufacturing. Also, OLED lighting can use less energy and provide the same quality of light or better.

As the lead federal agency for SSL activities, DOE has made a long-term commitment to accelerate the research, development, and market introduction of SSL. DOE-funded R&D projects drive breakthroughs in SSL efficiency and performance. DOE's market introduction strategies are closely aligned with research progress to help buyers differentiate good products in good applications and avoid early buyer dissatisfaction and delay of market development.

To learn more about DOE’s SSL program, visit the DOE Web site.