Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center

Solid-State Lighting Program at the LRC

An objective, international resource for solid-state lighting research since 2001

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Solid-state lighting (SSL) has evolved to a point where the light-emitting diode (LED) is now the preferred light source for many lighting applications. Even though LED market transformation is still in the single digits, over the next decade it is estimated to approach 50% by 2025. Research and development work is now in progress for future commercial LED luminaires to include sensors and controls that can provide greater benefits. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) for lighting applications are also on the horizon. However, many challenges remain to fully integrating these technologies into a successful commercial product.

The Lighting Research Center's Solid-State Lighting Program team conducts necessary research and educational programs to enhance this technology, overcome barriers, and help it to gain acceptance for general illumination purposes. The program's multidisciplinary staff focuses its efforts in the areas of:

Lighting systems and components research — studying component interactions, application conditions, and their effects on system performance

Human factors research — studying how people perceive and react to lighting conditions and appearances

Field demonstrations and market transformation activities — identifying ways to use LEDs and OLEDs in more types of applications, replacing less efficient light sources

Education — training professionals interested in SSL through workshops and seminars

Industry collaboration — bringing together researchers, manufacturers, utilities, and government to facilitate broad adoption of SSL technology

The LRC’s Solid-State Lighting Program is led by LRC Director of Research N. Narendran, Ph.D.

Download the LRC Solid-State Lighting Program Brochure PDF

What is Solid-State Lighting?


Lighting applications that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), or light-emitting polymers are commonly referred to as solid-state lighting (SSL). Unlike incandescent or fluorescent lamps, which create light with filaments and gases encased in a glass bulb, solid-state lighting consists of semiconductors that convert electricity into light. LEDs have been around for 50 years but until the early 2000s were used only in electronic devices as indicator lamps.

Technological developments in the last two decades have allowed LEDs to be used first in signal devices, like traffic lights and exit signs, then in some limited illumination applications, such as flashlights, and now for many general illumination applications, from homes to commercial spaces to outdoor lighting. Since 2001, the Lighting Research Center has been instrumental in conducting research to make this transformation happen.

Why Solid-State Lighting?

Solid-state lighting is used in a variety of lighting applications because it offers many benefits, including:

  • Long life —  LEDs can provide 50,000 hours or more of life, which can reduce maintenance costs. In comparison, an incandescent light bulb lasts approximately 1,000 hours.

  • Energy savings —The best commercial white LED lighting systems provide three or more times the luminous efficacy (lumens per watt) of incandescent lighting. Colored LEDs are especially advantageous for colored lighting applications because filters are not needed.

  • Better quality light output —LEDs have minimum ultraviolet and infrared radiation and can be tuned to any color appearance.

  • Intrinsically safe —LED systems are low voltage and generally cool to the touch.

  • Smaller, flexible light fixtures —The small size of LEDs makes them useful for lighting tight spaces. OLEDs are flat and flexible, allowing for unique applications.

  • Durable — LEDs have no filament to break and can withstand vibrations.

Solid-state lighting promises to change the way we light the world. The LRC is looking for answers to the challenges and opportunities offered by solid-state lighting. Visit the Key Research Accomplishments and Recent Projects pages for more information on the LRC's solid-state lighting projects.

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