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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Names Karlicek New Director of Smart Lighting ERC

January 15, 2010

Rensselaer Names Karlicek New Director of Smart Lighting ERC

Innovator and industry veteran Robert F. Karlicek Jr. has joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as director of the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC). His appointment was effective January 4, 2010.

As director of the $18.5 million multi-university Smart Lighting ERC, Karlicek is responsible for overseeing and developing the center’s research programs, as well as facilitating strategic growth and partnership opportunities. The center, funded by the National Science Foundation and supported by Rensselaer, New York state, and industry partners, aims to hasten the research, development, and commercialization of next-generation light-emitting diode (LED) devices that are smarter, greener, and ripe for innovation.

“Dr. Karlicek has a strong, distinctive background in LED research, technology transfer, and technology management,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “He is passionate about his work, and brings to Rensselaer an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the current landscape of lighting R&D. I look forward to seeing the Smart Lighting ERC grow and prosper under his leadership.”

“The LEDs being developed by the Smart Lighting ERC offer finer control over lighting characteristics than traditional light sources,” says Deborah Jackson, the NSF ERC Program Manager overseeing the center. “Besides exploiting the obvious energy savings associated with LED light sources, this center aims to add new dimensions of functionality to light sources. If this team is successful, lighting as we know it will change.”

Karlicek is a well-known innovator and manager with extensive industry experience in technology management, new product development, and strategic business planning. He said innovations emerging from the Smart Lighting ERC should be a guiding force that shapes the global LED space, and helps to better establish the United States as an international leader in advanced LED research, development, and applications.

“It’s a question of when, not if, LEDs will emerge as the world’s dominant, most energy efficient, and most cost effective lighting source. But there are also many novel and exciting LED applications that have not yet been refined or dreamt up and stand to result in radical new advances in health care, IT, transportation, and other areas,” Karlicek said. “Leveraging the strength of researchers and students at Rensselaer and its partner universities, the Smart Lighting ERC will help push the private sector forward and accelerate the rate at which new LED innovations enter industry and the marketplace.”

Karlicek is the president and founder of Acton, Mass.-based SolidUV Inc., which develops high-power ultraviolet LED systems for industrial applications in printing, electronics, packaging, and other operations. From 2005 to 2008, Karlicek served as chief scientist and vice president for research at Luminus Devices in Woburn, Mass., where he led an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers in the development of advanced photonic crystal LED devices and other LED based system designs.

Prior to these ventures, Karlicek worked for more than 25 years in research, development, and manufacturing of opto-electronic devices with industry leaders including AT&T Bell Labs, EMCORE, General Electric, Gore Photonics, and Microsemi. His primary research focus has been developing holistic approaches to solid state lighting and related LED applications, including advanced thermal management technologies, new approaches to chip and packaging integration, and color control and LED systems in large-scale lighting and industrial applications.

Karlicek has authored and co-authored more than 40 journal papers, and holds 24 U.S. patents for LED and lighting devices ranging from LED packaging designs to LEDs with novel LED interconnect architectures. He is a member of IEEE, the Optical Society of America (OSA), American Chemical Society (ACS), and Radtech.

Karlicek received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Elmhurst College, and went on to earn his doctoral degree in physical chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Funded by the NSF, industry, and New York state, and led by Rensselaer with partners Boston University and the University of New Mexico, the Smart Lighting Center will investigate and develop LED technologies that could one day change the way we illuminate our world. Along with significant energy savings for lighting homes and offices, these technologies will open doors to a diverse spectrum of new applications impacting everything from biotechnology and transportation to computer networking and displays.

Visit the Smart Lighting ERC Web site for more information on the center’s research programs and partnership opportunities.

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161