Seren's future looks bright after raising £475,000

A UNIVERSITY of Sheffield spin-out has raised £475,000 to develop its ultra-bright lighting technology.

Seren Photonics, a portfolio company part-owned by university research commercialisation group Fusion IP, said the funds will allow it to build its first pilot-scale HB LEDs (high-brightness light-emitting diodes).

Seren's new processing technique, developed by Dr Tao Wang from the University of Sheffield, greatly increases the efficiency at which a HB LED converts electricity into light and significantly reduces heat.

Seren chairman Dr Godfrey Ainsworth said: "We have made significant progress with the development of this technology in recent months. Incorporation of our process technology in to packaged pilot HB LEDs will allow us to demonstrate our product to potential manufacturing partners and early adopters from the potential customer base. We are already engaged in discussions with these parties".

The firm said successful demonstrations have so far resulted in a doubling of the light output compared to untreated devices. This means either much brighter lamps can be manufactured or the power consumption of state-of-the-art lamps can be reduced

Seren's technology is targeted at the large and fast-growing white light HB 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 and is set to grow to $12bn by 2013. Seren raised money from investors including Fusion, IP Group and Dr Drew Nelson, founder and chief executive of the global semiconductor foundry, IQE plc.

The funding will be used to purchase key equipment and complete several pilot scale manufacturing schemes involving Seren's manufacturing processes. These will then be used as demonstration products to showcase its technology to manufacturers. Seren said it has already started discussions with three Far East manufacturers.

Fusion IP chief executive David Baynes said: "Seren continues to make excellent progress and we are excited by the results to date. There is a huge potential market for their revolutionary technology and we remain confident that the light output, which is already double untreated devices, will be significantly increased as the process is optimised."