Ultra-Thin Flexible LED Lighting Panels

Period of Performance: 07/31/2017 - 07/30/2019

$1000K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lucent Optics Inc.
1832 Tribute Road Suite C
Sacramento, CA 95815
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

Solid-state lighting (SSL) panels based on inorganic LEDs are fairly efficient but lack thin and flexible forms, which severely limits the design options and further cost reduction. Organic LEDs (OLEDs) can be readily formed on flexible film substrates but have much lower efficacy and higher cost than inorganic LEDs. This project will develop and demonstrate a revolutionary new type of thin and flexible SSL panels that combine the high luminous efficacy and low cost of inorganic LEDs with the ultra-thin form factor and design flexibility of OLEDs. The proposed lighting panel employs a small number of high-brightness LEDs and a thin and flexible optical sheet that distributes light from the LEDs and emits a soft, uniform beam from the entire surface of the sheet without glare. It incorporates several innovations such as distributing and emitting light using a flexible light guide, efficient LED coupling to the light guide using special optics, and extracting light from the light using micro-scale surface patterning. The proposed technology utilizes minimum raw materials to create a distributed light source using latest-generation LEDs and has a potential to lower the cost of lighting panels by 30% or more while increasing the overall output and quality of light. Once commercially available, the ultra-thin and flexible LED lighting panels could become a new platform technology for making next- generation wide-area SSL panels that are more versatile and material-efficient than conventional products and provide new luminaire design opportunities. In Phase I, we proved the feasibility of the technology and produced a number of functional prototypes of flexible lighting panels that met all of the Phase I performance targets. In the proposed Phase II project, we will scale up the technology to the size of real-world lighting fixtures and focus on further improving the overall panel performance and end-use product development. With the subsequent commercialization in Phase III, we will make viable creating a wide array of ultra-low-cost LED luminaires having innovative shapes and attractive designs. Such LED luminaires could dramatically expedite the conversion of energy-wasting fluorescent lamps to energy-efficient solid-state sources at a much lower cost than the cost of saved energy.