attention is being paid to the development of solid-state lighting, and funding is following suit. Partnerships, such as the agreement signed in February 2005 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)-administered Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA), which will support the development and commercialization of solid-state lighting technology, and legislation providing funding, like the Energy Policy Act of 2005, have paved the way for the LED technology advancements.

According to the DOE's 129-page multi-year program report (released in March 2006) for its solid-state lighting initiative, its level of funding has increased from $3 million for fiscal year 2003 to $13 million for fiscal year 2006. And in February, President Bush's proposed 2007 fiscal budget increases solid-state lighting technology funding by 75 percent from last year, bringing it to $19.3 million.

Also in March 2006, the DOE announced funding selections for its solid-state lighting program with the goal to 'develop advanced solid-state lighting technologies that, compared to conventional lighting technologies, are much more energy efficient, longer lasting, and cost competitive by targeting a product system efficiency of 50 percent with lighting that accurately reproduces sunlight spectrum' by 2025.

Pushing technology advancement even further is the use of nanotechnology-technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0.1 to 100 nm-in solid-state lighting. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the DOE is mandated to designate one of five federal nanotechnology research centers as a national solid-state lighting center, for which Congress has appropriated $5 million in funding. This technology is expected to create high-performance results in areas including photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and sensors, though NGLIA manufacturers are working with the DOE to evaluate its use in solid-state lighting semiconductors.

To this end, NEMA has created a Nanotechnology Advisory Council, comprised of a panel of experts, to provide guidance to the electrical manufacturing community on this emerging technology. According to NEMA, the council will act as a 'resource for manufacturers interested in the research and public policy implications of nanotechnology development as they seek to apply the technology in their products.' A|L