Minister announces £4.3m investment

The largest UK pure research project in the area of printed lighting panels continues to expand with more than £4m of new funding and three new partners.

David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science has announced that the government backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is to give £2.15m match-funding to the polymer light-emitting diode (PLED) project led by Thorn.

The money brings closer the development and demonstration of a practical, industrial scale manufacturing process for printing emissive material onto wafer-thin panels of glass, which could transform ceilings and walls into lights.

Tridonic, Pilkington and Conductive Inkjet Technologies (CIT) have joined Cambridge Display Technology (CDT), Durham University and Thorn in the programme, entitled TOPDRAWER, which will test and develop prototypes at the Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC) at NETPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham as early as 2011.

“Looking ahead, this technology offers enormous potential to help our local environment, improve our everyday standard of living and support the nation’s economy,” said Mr Willetts.

Project leader Dr. Geoff Williams of Thorn Lighting said: “This is an excellent show of confidence in Polymer OLED (PLED) technology and the consortium. It’s a key step in moving the technology to the manufacturing feasibility stage.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has assisted us, especially the TSB, regional development agency One North East and PETEC.”

TOPDRAWER (Thin Organic Prototypes, Design, Research, Applications with End-user Recognition) aims is to produce the UK’s first printed ultra high efficiency PLED luminaire. The lighting works on a low-voltage direct current (DC) that can be generated from micro-renewables. Any surplus energy generated can be fed back to the grid, potentially making the technology carbon negative.

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