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2012-09-20
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Editorial: Quality of Light Going Mainstream
 
... Quality of light has always been an interesting phrase, but it's getting even more interesting with the increasing adoption of LED lighting. Back in "the day", when incandescents were pretty much the only choice, quality of light (QoL) wasn't much of a discussion since there wasn't much you could...
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Commentary...
Quality of Light Going Mainstream

 
... Quality of light has always been an interesting phrase, but it's getting even more interesting with the increasing adoption of LED lighting. Back in "the day", when incandescents were pretty much the only choice, quality of light (QoL) wasn't much of a discussion since there wasn't much you could...

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OLED Market to Grow to $7.69 Billion in 2016, Frost & Sullivan Predicts
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 20, 2012...Frost and Sullivan contends that the new display technology of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) is gradually taking the lead over competing lighting and display technologies, including liquid crystal displays (LCDs). The company claims that market's emerging dominance furthers, with innovate technologies like active matrix OLED (AMOLED). The company estimates that the OLED market which reached $1.69 billion in 2011 will earn an estimated $7.69 billion in 2016, or a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 percent.

The company says that OLEDs take an advantage over LCDs by having thinner, lightweight and printable displays. As a matter of fact, OLEDs are five times thinner than conventional LCDs because they are self-emissive/luminous and do not require additional backlighting. The company contends that this feature results in lower power consumption, reduced costs and higher space savings than conventional LCDs. Furthermore, Frost and Sullivan says that emissive displays offer high contrast and a wide viewing angle (close to 180 degrees), which translates to high resolution and readability in various lighting conditions.

"New end-user applications, including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), car audio systems, digital cameras and watches, are projected to drive market growth," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nupur Sinha. "Lower production costs and higher performance will enable more applications, such as pagers, games, toys, point-of-sale systems, large-display TVs and notebook computers." LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Cree Introduces Brighter, More Efficient XLamp® XP-E2 LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 20, 2012...Cree, Inc. has introduced the new XLamp XP-E2 LED. The company claims that the XP-E2 offers higher lumens per watt and lumens-per-dollar to lower system costs for existing XP-E and XP-G designs. Cree says that the new XP-E2 LEDs can increase the lumen output of XP-E designs for the same cost and power or lower system cost with fewer LEDs. In this way the company says that the XP-E2 allows lighting manufacturers to deliver a better lighting system with minimal redesign.

The XP-E2 LEDs use the same XP footprint (3.45mm x 3.45mm) and are optically compatible with all Cree XP LED designs, including the XP-E and XP-G LEDs. The XP-E2 LEDs are for high-lumen applications, from indoor and outdoor lighting to portable and lamp retrofits.

“The price to performance ratio is an important consideration for our design process,” said Erik Milz, vice president of marketing, Terralux. “Since many of our products are based on Cree ® XP-E LEDs, the new XP-E2 LED is a significant upgrade in performance, helping to keep design costs down and speeding time-to-market for our solutions.” LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

The New High Intensity LED Mining Light from Larson Electronics

September 19, 2012...Certain applications are so hazardous, so dangerous and in such inhospitable places that only LED lighting will work. Mining is just such an application. Larson Electronics Magnalight has an LED Luminaire for it. The company notes that dimly lit work areas such as mining facilities, power generation plants, and other industry sites require reliable, high intensity LED lighting for operation during work hours. Many of these areas have minimal power available and are usually wet and dusty.

Larson Electronics Magnalight.com has introduced the LEDP5W-60-1127 High Intensity LED mining light for such applications. It operates on 120 VAC power for a long 50000 hours of trouble-free lighting service. High purity optics for each LED lamp provides a well-directed 25 degree spot beam for reaching concentrated illumination over a diverse range. There is an optional floodlight version too that offers a broader wide path of illumination.

The LEDP5W-60-1227 has low power consumption with high intensity output using advanced LED light design and does not create nearly as much heat as typically used metal halide systems. Each unit is equipped with a unique trunnion style mounting bracket that allows the light to be attached to flat surfaces and adjusted through 360 degrees of vertical movement.

“This LED light design offers customers a lot of versatility with low power consumption, less heat generated, and more economical operation with as much or more intensity for brighter working areas,” said Robert Bresnahan of Larson Electronics, LLC Magnalight.com. “This reliable light intensity equates to better working conditions with higher visibility during sometimes dangerous work tasks in dark areas!”

Taiwan-based Companies, Lextar Electronics and Wellypower Optronics to Merge
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 18, 2012...Two Taiwan-based LED manufacturers, Lextar Electronics and Wellypower Optronics have agreed to merge based on a stock swap of two Wellypower shares for one Lextar share. The merger, which is scheduled to be completed on February 1, 2013, will make Lextar the second largest LED maker in Taiwan behind only Epistar. Lextar is a vertically integrated maker of LEDs and LED luminaires. Wellypower specializes in LED packaging, buying the LED chips and producing LED back-light centric components, high-power LEDs, and chip-on-board products as well as (somewhat unrelated) fluorescent lighting. The combining of the two companies' LED businesses is expected to reduce manufacturing expenses and expand sales channels. Wellypower will gain access to a Lextar's LED technology portfolio.

AU Optronics is a significant investor in both companies. Another investor, China Electric also owns Wellypower stock. Wellypower will supply T5 tubes for the China Electric TOA brand. The combined company, Lextar will now also have a closer relationship with China Electric with Lextar saying they "will be able to enhance mutual competitiveness in the LED lighting market."

Chairman of Lextar Dr. David Su said, “Lextar is one of the top three LED companies in Taiwan and is the only one throughout the island to have a vertically integrated business model. Lextar believes the integration with Wellypower will be effective and resourceful, and will help the companies maintain a competitive edge in the LED market. Lextar has resource management, production and supply chain experience with company merging back in 2010 where it merged with the largest LED backlighting maker at the time, Lighthouse. Lextar’s merger with Wellypower this time around will provide the two sides more talent and resources, and will increase Lextar’s advantages in the ever-quickening and evolving LED lighting market.”

EBV Electronik Opens LED Test Lab to Customers
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 18, 2012...EBV Reports that its customers in the region of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will now have access to its luminaire and LED test lab. EBV Elektronik says that even newcomers to the field of LED lighting can use its LightLab to perform almost all the relevant photometric measurements from single LEDs and LED modules to complete lamp systems.

The company notes that many light manufacturers would like transition from conventional filament and CFL lamps to LED lighting, but currently have neither the necessary design expertise nor the expensive measuring equipment. EBV says that for many years now, it has been providing these customers with expert support as part of its LightSpeed activities. Since February 2012, the distributor has been offering its customers the LightLab service at its site in Poing, near Munich.

The company claims that this makes it the first European distributor to enable its customers in the EMEA region to perform radiometric and photometric measurements across the entire light chain from measurements on individual LEDs or LED modules and comparative measurements of light sources (eg, light bulbs versus CFL or LED solutions) right up to the complete measurement of entire lights up to a certain size. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

NTNU Researchers Grow GaAs Nanowires on Graphene and Form Spin-off, CrayoNano
CompoundSemi News Staff

September 17, 2012...Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have successfully grown GaAs nanowires on graphene. The technology underpinning their approach was recently described in a publication of Nano Letters. The patented method of growing semiconductor nanowires on atomically thin graphene uses MBE (molecular beam epitaxy) to grow the nanowires. The nanowires are reportedly grown under gallium droplets (self catalyzed), thereby avoiding foreign elements in processing or operation.

The group fabricated photodetectors with high responsivity from single GaAs nanowires grown on graphitic substrates. Spin-off company, CrayoNano asserts that semiconductor nanowires epitaxially grown on graphene can function both as a transparent electrode as well as an epitaxial “substrate-free” growth template for the active semiconductor material.

"We do not see this as a new product," says Professor Helge Weman, a professor at NTNU's Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, and CTO and co-founder of the company created to commercialize the research. "This is a template for a new production method for semiconductor devices. We expect solar cells and light emitting diodes to be first in line when future applications are planned."

Weman envisions the technology may lead to flexible self-powered consumer electronics such cell phones, tablets, exercise accessories and notepads. The project patented the technology through NTNU Technology Transfer. The development comes from the NTNU NanoLab, MBE Lab and Nano-Photonics Laboratory.

DOE Develops Cost Model for Manufacturing Packaged LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 13, 2012...The US Department of Energy's Solid State Lighting program has introduced the LED Cost Model, which was developed by the DOE Cost Modeling Working Group, provides a simplified method for analyzing the manufacturing costs of an LED package. The model, comes in the form a spreadsheet with a database backend. It focuses on the major cost elements and includes preliminary raw data and manufacturing process flow, which provide a starting point and can be customized by the user to model different processes, materials, and equipment.

The tool reportedly enables those involved in the manufacture of LED packages from material and equipment suppliers, to epitaxy growers, to wafer processors, to chip manufacturers and packagers to evaluate the relative impact of changes made at different points in the manufacturing process on the final LED package cost. The cost model can be configured to evaluate the impact of changes to the substrate size and type, the fabrication process, raw materials costs, and the manufacturing equipment used. It can also be used to help complete a cost-benefit analysis in order to quantify the value of a proposed R&D activity by analyzing the impact the anticipated improvements would have on the final LED package cost.

The model can be downloaded at: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/ledcom_cost_model.html. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

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Commentary & Perspective...

Quality of Light Going Mainstream
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

September 20, 2012...Quality of light has always been an interesting phrase, but it's getting even more interesting with the increasing adoption of LED lighting. Back in "the day", when incandescents were pretty much the only choice, quality of light (QoL) wasn't much of a discussion since there wasn't much you could do about it. Mercury vapor lamps came along pretty early in the history of electric light, being invented in 1901, with versions pretty similar to those lamps today having been introduced in 1930s. This was probably the first big step in the QoL discussion, because there was now a standard for "bad" quality light (didn't say it was a forward-step). As described in a pretty detailed History of Light and Lighting web page (electricity shows up in the middle of the timeline):

Within three to five minutes after ignition, the mercury is completely vaporized and the characteristic blue-green spectrum of the mercury discharge is emitted. It contains strong ultraviolet radiation at wavelengths of 254 nm and 365 NM Radiation in the red area of the spectrum is virtually negligible. A mercury lamp's color temperature ranges between 4000K and 4500K, while its color rendering index (CRI) is only approximately 20, for a clear bulb. Applying phosphor coatings to the outer bulb increases the light output by 10 to 15 percent and improves the CRI to approximately 50.

It just sounds bad from the outset. In the good news department, it delivered 5x the efficiency of an incandescent lamp, which is also the bad news, since even then, power companies charged for electricity, and less usage cost less money. Efficiency demands arguably drove bad lighting.

Just a bit later, the fluorescent lamp was first introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair in 1937, followed by its commercial introduction in 1938. Now we were saved! There were now at least two sources of bad lighting, and QoL was primed for a real debate! By 1940, we had the PAR (sealed beam) lamp, which put everyone in a position to compare the effects of incandescent vs. gas-discharge vs. phosphor-generated lighting solutions. We did have things like art galleries and department stores, so it's safe to say decision makers did notice when QoL mattered, and when it did, incandescent was the choice.

Fast forward a half-century or so, and we arrive at a point where you could actually get decent quality light, as well as decent color rendering, from several of the higher efficiency sources. Still not great, but competitive considering the difference in energy usage (and subsequent operating costs). Everyone had carved out their turf, and other than CFLs finally delivering on decent QoL themselves, nothing much happened until late in the first decade of the 21st century. LED lighting showed up, and guess what? While it had the potential to be of decent quality, little of it was, and even littler of it was cost-effective versus the performance. (The claims versus the incumbents were very impressive, but the reality tended to lag a bit).

As we arrive at "now", quality of light has become a discussion again, and I'd be willing to submit it is going to be a big one. We invested a few minutes with the team from Soraa this last week, and it is interesting to note that as an LED pure-play stepping into a big, well established market, they are going head-to-head against halogen MR16 lamps with a pretty simple message, "We offer quality of light that goes beyond halogen" Dude! Understand that this is interesting not so much because of their approach to the technology (LEDs that can be driven really-really hard, allowing it to be a single die shining on a pretty 'rich' phosphor... no shadows, nice distribution, increased R9), but because they are going against high-footcandle incandescents in a painfully small form-factor where color quality is king. It's what incandescents do really well, as long as one ignores the efficiency issue. Interesting as well is the Soraa is doing it not on a lumens per watt message, but a "lux" basis to focus in on light delivered as the MR competitor would deliver it. QoL has to be their message since it is almost universally why the halogen MR16 is in that fixture, in that specific application, in the first place.

Soraa isn't the first to push QoL by any means. All the major LED manufacturers (Lumileds, Cree, Osram, Nichia, etc) have been trying to push QoL for years as a way to differentiate from "those low cost LED providers". CRI, CCT, lumen depreciation and color shift curves have been part of their message and product toolbox for a while. Xicato has done an excellent job of establishing its brand name as an OEM LED "module" supplier totally wrapped around QoL (very high CRI, enhanced R9 and R15) and are now emphasizing the quality-over-time element by asking, "What if a toilet floods and shorts out a luminaire in the gallery 5 years after installation? Will the replacement fixture match in terms of output and color?" Good question. They say theirs will, and that matters in a number of applications.

So as we look to the near future, I expect quality of light to start to get even more play and to begin to enjoy and expanded definition to move beyond "the quality of the source's light output" to include "the quality of the lighting experience". While we'll be demanding that the source continue to improve, in both the kind of light it produces, and how controllably and efficiently it does it, we'll also want it to be light that is "good for people" in terms of serving the need to see, and the need for the space to be pleasing and productive. Both will be good things.

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