The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science has awarded six Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants to proposals targeting advances in solid-state lighting (SSL) technology. The six Phase I Release 1 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-STTR program seeks to increase the participation of small businesses in federally sponsored innovative and novel research and development. To learn more about this program, visit

The six Phase I Release 1 awards related to SSL are briefly described below: 

SBIR Recipient: PhosphorTech Corporation (Kennesaw, GA)
Title: Hybrid Down-Converting Structures for Solid State Lighting
Summary: PhosphorTech and its partners propose the development of high-performance hybrid inorganic down-converting material systems for high-brightness LED applications. While conventional bulk phosphors are currently the dominant down-converters used in high-power SSL applications, their performance is limited by intrinsic properties such as high scattering cross-sections and large emission bandwidth. PhosphorTech believes that by designing a complete inorganic hybrid system, the new materials will outperform bulk phosphors, nanocrystals, and conventional quantum dots and will ultimately enable a new generation of SSL devices with high luminous efficacies, high color and thermal stability, and spectral efficiency near the theoretical maximum luminous efficacy of radiation as a result of their color-tunability and narrow bandwidths.

SBIR Recipient: Lumisyn, LLC (Rochester, NY)
Title: High Performance Colloidal Nanocrystals
Summary: Lumisyn has created a novel class of high-efficiency, nontoxic nanocrystals that overcome many longstanding problems with other alternatives but require improvements before being commercialized. This project will develop a model of the factors that contribute to high efficiency under both ambient and adverse LED operating conditions, identify compositional factors that lead to unwanted loss of nanocrystal efficiency, explore synthetic and compositional changes in order to further reduce the spectral width of the red-emitting nanocrystals, and reduce the batch-to-batch variability of the synthesized nanocrystals by suitable modification of the synthetic process.

SBIR Recipient: Vadient Optics LLC (Eugene, OR) 
Title: Alternative Interconnect Manufacturing
Summary: Vadient Optics proposes to develop and demonstrate a practical commercial manufacturing route for its flexible, low-cost additive manufacturing process used to efficiently fabricate complex and highly efficient light-extraction optics for a variety of SSL products. The proposed approach will allow inkjet-print fabrication of monolithic freeform three-dimensional gradient-index optical films that can be printed directly onto LED or OLED assemblies, allowing lamps and luminaires to be easily and quickly tailored for precise, spectrally specific radiant angular flux distributions to achieve optimal light extraction efficiency for a wide range of lighting conditions. By embedding variable concentrations of high- and low-optical index nanoparticles with polymer host matrices, it is proposed to create stable optical inks that can achieve an index contrast > 0.2.

SBIR Recipient: OLEDWorks, LLC (Rochester, NY)
Title: Development of High Efficiency White OLEDs Using Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence Emitters
Summary: This project proposes to use commercially available thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) materials to develop highly efficient and stable blue devices and incorporate them into tandem white OLEDs, which will help minimize the deleterious effects of existing blue stack geometries. Phase I goals include quantification of key photo-physical performance characteristics of TADF emitters and identification of suitable materials, leading to the commercial development of practical OLEDs with higher blue efficiencies resulting in improved overall efficacy. Subsequent phases will include accelerated lifetime testing and systematic analysis of degradation routes of the successful Phase I materials, which will enable reduction of chemical instabilities by synthetic modification. This research pathway is expected to lead to further development and commercialization of OLED lighting products.  

SBIR Recipient: UbiQD, LLC (Los Alamos, NM)
Title: Nonradiative Recombination Pathways in Noncarcinogenic Quantum Dot Composites
Summary: Quantum dots composed of I-III-VI materials such as CuInS2 offer a compelling alternative to typical semiconductor quantum-dot systems, because they have no known toxicity and can be manufactured at a much lower cost. The project proposes to evaluate the commercial viability of CuInS2/ZnS quantum dots for down-conversion in SSL through the development of composites incorporating them. Quantitative evaluation and optimization of the proposed composite materials will include photoluminescence and stability testing. Brightness evaluations and compatibility with commercial silicones will be a priority in Phase I, with spectral tuning and line-width narrowing left to Phase II. Ultimately in subsequent phases, UbiQD will turn its focus from proof-of concept to developing large-scale manufacturing methods for manufacturing the composites in commercial volumes.

SBIR Recipient: SC Solutions Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA)
Title: Real Time Learning Temperature Control for Increased Throughput in LED Manufacturing
Summary: This project proposes to develop an innovative temperature control technology for use in metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) reactors, to improve both throughput and the performance of the manufactured LED by reducing the effects of unpredictable and variable LED colors, which is a function of the substrate temperature during the deposition process. SC Solutions believes that the proposed control technology will be feasible using new efficient and scalable algorithms and by increasing computational power for real-time control. The Phase I effort will demonstrate a control system that can steer the MOCVD heat transfer process from an uncertain initial state to a target state while maintaining control constraints and keeping the temperatures within a desired range.