Planned facility will produce twice-as-bright LEDs

Sheffield University spin-out Seren Photonics has completed a first round of funding that will enable it to build a pilot plant to build its first high-brightness LEDs.

Seren’s new processing technique, developed by Dr Tao Wang, a reader at Sheffield University, increases the efficiency at which a high-brightness LED converts an applied voltage into light and significantly reduces heat generation under normal running conditions.

Demonstrations of the patent-pending process have shown that it can be used to build LEDs with double the output of conventional devices, which means that either much brighter lamps can be manufactured or that the power consumption of advanced lamps can be reduced.

Seren’s technology is targeted at the large and fast-growing, white-light, high-brightness LED markets, such as back lighting for laptops and TVs, signs and displays, as well as domestic and architectural lighting. This market is currently worth an estimated $5bn (£3.2bn) and is set to grow to $12bn by 2013.

The technology could also be used to build products for the lighting industry where high-brightness LEDs could replace incandescent bulbs, provided the brightness can be increased and the cost of manufacture reduced.

Seren’s funding round raised a total of £475,000 from a number of investors, including Fusion, IP Group and Dr Drew Nelson, founder and chief executive of the global semiconductor foundry, IQE. The funding will be used to purchase key capital equipment to build a pilot-scale manufacturing plant.

The company’s packaged high-brightness LEDs will then be used as demonstration products to showcase the technology to larger high-brightness LED manufacturers. Seren has already started discussions with three such companies based in the Far East.