9 June 2011

Smart Lighting ERC at RPI enlists 21 industrial partners 

Now in its third year, the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Centre (ERC) has enlisted 21 key industrial partners to help guide its research programs and hasten the transition of key innovations from the lab bench to the marketplace.

The center is dedicated to developing new light-emitting diode technologies and applications for smarter, better-performing lighting devices and systems. Launched in 2008 and funded primarily by the US National Science Foundation, the ERC is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) of Troy, NY, USA.

“The rapidly growing industry membership in the Smart Lighting ERC is a testimony to the quality of the transformative research being conducted on future lighting systems by the ERC faculty and students,” says ERC director Robert Karlicek. “It is also firm support for the ERC’s vision of smart lighting systems, which are poised to revolutionize lighting by creating immersive lighting systems that can sense their environment to provide new levels of energy efficiency, health and safety benefits, and enhanced workplace productivity,” he adds.

Among the center’s industrial partners are German lighting firm Osram Sylvania and Taiwan-based LED epiwafer and chip maker Epistar Corp.

“Riding on the backbone of energy-efficient improvements in materials and performance, the Smart Lighting ERC is providing a state-of-the-art center in which we from industry engage academia to prove concepts at platform levels, ahead of industry acceptance and uptake,” comments Matthew Stough, director of engineering, materials and processes, and research coordinator at Osram Sylvania.

“Their work on transformative LED and lighting technology is of critical importance to the development of advanced solid-state lighting systems, and we look forward to supporting those efforts as a member of the ERC,” says Steve Hong, Epistar’s director of R&D.

While the promise of LEDs as a long-lived, energy-efficient heir to light bulbs is undeniable, the true promise of LED and solid-state lighting technology transcends illumination, says the ERC. LEDs offer the potential to control, manipulate, and use light in entirely new ways for a diverse range of areas.

To realize the potential of solid-state lighting technology, the ERC team is working to create better LEDs, as well as new sensors and systems required to effectively monitor and control them. More than 30 ERC faculty researchers at RPI and partner universities are working toward this goal, along with dozens of student researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting industry engineers.

Along with RPI, core ERC university partners are Boston University and the University of New Mexico. ERC university outreach partners are Howard University in Washington; Morgan State University in Baltimore; and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The ERC says that its industry partners, ranging from major lighting firms to small startup firms, help to guide strategic planning, spur innovation, and provide university students with first-hand experience in entrepreneurship as well as corporate R&D. This summer, four ERC graduate students have taken internships with ERC industrial partners, and two ERC students have started a new company based on ERC technology and will be supported this summer by a Boston-based venture capital firm.

Tags: LEDs SSL

Visit: http://smartlighting.rpi.edu

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