Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center

The Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) at UC Santa Barbara is a new collaborative center, which partners key industry leaders and UCSB researchers to advance solid-state lighting and energy efficient power switching using wide-bandgap semiconductors.  

SSLEEC is focused on new semiconductor based technologies for energy efficient lighting, power electronics, and bulk growth of Gallium Nitride (GaN). The objective of the SSLEEC is to provide a forum for its members - key industry partners and the faculty and student researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara - to work in collaboration and across scientific disciplines to address the most challenging problems in these important and timely areas of research.

The transition from incandescent and fluorescent lighting to high-efficiency solid-state based lighting is picking up steam. However, key challenges persist, including efficiency droop at high current densities and temperatures and availability of large-area bulk GaN substrates at a variety of crystal orientations.  SSLEEC continues to push the frontier with new developments in semi-polar and non-polar GaN devices, innovation in high-efficiency laser-based lighting, and exploration of novel methods for bulk crystal growth.

Electrical power is used inefficiently in cell phones, computers, appliances, automobiles, industrial equipment, and power distribution systems account for a tremendous waste of energy. New transistors based on gallium nitride (GaN) and related alloys offer a route to cut this waste significantly, providing energy savings compared to those expected from solid-state lighting. Researchers in the SSLEEC pioneered GaN based power transistors and continue to lead the world with new discoveries and inventions.

Under the leadership of Professors Steven DenBaars and Shuji Nakamura, Umesh Mishra and Jim Speck, SSLEEC has established one of the most unique and successful business models among universities and industry partners. Over the past 6 years, SSLEC produced a key patent portfolio of >150 patents. The center has produced 430+ publications since 2007.