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2014-09-02
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Editorial: The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...
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Commentary...
The Light We Do, and Don't, Want

 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

AV1 Group, Inc. Signs White Label Agreement With LED Manufacturer to Target Cannabis Sector
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 2, 2014...Investment and holding company AV1 Group, Inc. of La Jolla, California USA, has entered into a White Label agreement for the marketing and sales of LED-based lighting equipment rebranded as the GrowthSpectrum Line. AV1 Group recently launched its CannaLighting Division to enter the rising cannabis cultivation market with specialty lighting that the company designed to yield robust plant productivity, maximize plant health, and increase potency. AV1 points out that quality lighting is vital in the Cannabis industry because the majority of Cannabis growing operations are enclosed or indoors.

AV1's strategic partnership with the LED manufacturer, branded under the GrowthSpectrum product line, enables entry into a fast growing market with minimal overhead. The CannaLighting division will be targeting cannabis grow houses nationally to deliver the GrowthSpectrum brand of LED luminaires. The company will have their marketing brochure available online shortly.

"We are prepared to begin marketing our products to growhouses in legalized states nationwide. Momentum is growing as we expand," stated Bryen Beglinger, CEO of AV1 Group, Inc.

Company Raises Money with Kickstarter Sell DIY Ambilight for Computer Monitors
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 2, 2014...Inovatek Electronics Ltd. is attempting to raise money to manufacture and sell AmbiLED HD through Kickstarter.com. The company claims that AmbiLED HD is the first high resolution ambient light conversion kit for computer monitors. Inovatek asserts that the system easy to apply and open-source. Inovatek Electronics started out designing the system as a fun, open source project. However, the AmbiLED prototype generated so much interest that the company decided to offer it as a commercial product if they could raise enough money through Kickstarter.com The company hopes to raise £33,000 by September 30.

The company says that while other DIY ambient light systems exist, they use only between 3 and 30 LEDs and require a lot of cables between the LEDs and the controller to control the three-pin RGB LEDs. However, Inovatek's individually addressable WS2812B 16 million colours RGB LEDs, do not need complex cabling and connections. In a demonstration video, the company applied a 290cm long strip with 172 LEDs to the back of its test monitor. Uniquely, the monitor with ambiLED HD has is no cabling or construction behind it.

AmbiLED HD can reportedly control up to 512 LEDs(8.5 meters) with just a 3 pin connection. It works as a single self-adhesive LED strip without any extra cabling. The strip can be connected to the back of your display with just a 3 pin connector plugged into the AmbiLED HD controller. The controller is powered through an AC adapter (included) or USB port of your PC.

AmbiLED HD paints the background with the nearest colour in order to improve your visual experience. Despite a 120° visual field, only about 6% of the visual area appears clear and sharp at a time. However, you can sense the entire 120° area including the frame around a computer monitor and background around it. The company says at first that the AmbiLED HD can be startling when for example a car moves very fast to the edge of the screen or at light saber blast effect goes beyond the screen's boundaries. However, viewers learn and adjust to the screen limits, and eventually become immersed in the experience.

The AmbiLED HD features open source hardware, firmware and software with an Arduino based circuit design. The system has a flexible and bendable 12mm wide self-adhesive RGB LED strip. The system uses 14W/m RGB LEDs, whereas only 3W/m is enough for AmbiLED HD. It comes with a 5V 3000mA wall adapter (capable of supplying up to 5 meters of LED strip), and it is Windows compatible.

Bridgelux, Debt-Free and On Track for Revenues Over $100 Million
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 2, 2014...According to a letter from Bridgelux CEO Brad Bullington, Bridgelux posted record revenues for the first half of calendar year 2014. Additionally, Bullington said that the company earnings were on target to reach more than $100 million for 2014. During the second quarter of 2014, Bridgelux introduced the V10 and V15 LED module product lines for residential and commercial applications.

Bullington also reported that Bridgelux is currently shipping samples of its OLM solution, a modular approach forintegration of an LED subsystem into outdoor fixtures, and Bridgelux expects to make its OLM solution availabile in Q4 of 2014.

In the first half of 2014, Bridgelux also posted unit growth of 104% compared the first half of 2013 for sales of package products and 36% for sales of die products, according to Bullington. Bullington noted that Bridgelux is substantially increasing investments in next generation products and technologies to build on accelerate its success. Additionally, the Company continues to increase investments applications engineering and R&D, particularly in support of Bridgelux's customer base in Asia.

Bullington says that currently, Bridgelux, a company with about 150 employee worldwide, carries no outstanding debt and has a substantial unutilized credit facility. The company ended the second quarter of 2014 with $45 million in cash.

HC SemiTek LED Flip Chip Won "China's First LED Award"
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 2, 2014...HC SemiTek reported that its flip chip LED products won the " China 's first LED Award" Award of Excellence from "China's First LED Prize" competition. The competition is jointly organized by the China Illuminating Engineering Society and the Professional Committee of semiconductor lighting technology and applications. More than 100 LED and LED luminaire companies participated in the competition.Judges chose the LED flip chip for its low voltage, high efficiency, high stability. The company expects most domestic lighting manufacturers to use LED flip-chips in street lighting , specialty lighting . At 1A, t he company's current 45mil flip-chip reportedly demonstrated 100lm / W.

Seoul Semiconductor Launches Wirelessly Controllable Smart Lighting Acrich LED Light Engine
SSL Design News Staff

August 28, 2014...On August 27, 2014, Seoul Semiconductor released its new LED light engine with Acrich 3 technology. The new light engine includes an LED module with Acrich3 IC technology, the Acrich MJT 5050 series LED, a heat sink, and secondary optics. The company points out that the Acrich light engine can be operated directly from the AC mains and does not require a complex AC/DC converter. Seoul Semiconductor contends that this increases the reliability of a luminaire using the module, simplifies designs, and reduces component count.

At 120 VAC, the new 30W Acrich light engine provides a typical luminous flux of 3000 lumens with a 5000K correlated color temperature. The typical module efficiency translates to about 100 lumens per watt. According to the company, when operated in a power compensation mode, the Acrich3 technology can adapt to up to 20% variations in the line-voltage and still provide power-level regulation within 5% to ensure light output uniformity.

Seoul Semiconductor points out that the new Acrich3 solution enables smart lighting control systems and can interface through a wide variety of wireless networks such as WiFi, IEEE 802.15.4, and Bluetooth can further optimize energy savings as well as control dimming. The IP67 rated light engine comes in a variety of color temperatures and beam patterns.

Seoul Semiconductor executive vice president of lighting sales division, Jay Kim stated, “The payback period for streetlights can be significantly reduced with this new Acrich light engine. By eliminating AC/DC converters in streetlights, maintenance costs can be lowered and reliability can be improved without compromising on price, quality and energy savings to dramatically improve the lighting experience for customers.”

Tyanshine Photoelectric releases COB RGBW 4-in-1 LED Arrays

August 28, 2014...Tianxin(Tyanshine) Photoelectric of Guangzhou, China, a professional RGB(x) LEDs packaging manufacturer, has released the RGBW 4IN1 COB LED Array. The upgraded version, the RGBW Array offers multicolor mixing effects for Entertainment/Architectural lighting. They are available in the COB Copper substrate Package, which measures 28x28mm (LES 13.3mm) and 52x60mm (LES 32.8mm) with 30Watt and 150Watt respectively. The COB LED has a small light emitting surface (LES) with high color-mixing uniformity and fast heat-conductivity. The new RGBW LED Array will be exhibited at prolight+sound SHANGHAI 2014 Oct.8-11 at booth: W4E62.

IKEA GreenTech Invests in Scottish Company that Makes Light Tiles
SSL Design News Staff

August 28, 2014...IKEA GreenTech, an IKEA Group venture capital company, reported that it has invested in Design LED Products Ltd, a Scottish company that has developed unique, energy efficient “light tiles” . The thin and flexible light tiles are LEDs embedded into clear resins and films. Design LED Products boasts that the light tiles are low cost and can be seamlessly joined into exciting new designs.

The investment will support the IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy, People & Planet Positive, which aims to enable customers to save energy and live more sustainably.

“This technology opens up fantastic possibilities for innovative designs using energy efficient LEDs. The partnership is a clear strategic fit for IKEA and our goal to make living sustainably affordable and attractive for millions of people,” said Christian Ehrenborg, Managing Director, IKEA GreenTech AB

IKEA plans to switch its entire lighting range to LED technology by September 2015. The investment will enable Design LED to expand its business and to increase its offer of products that can be used in lighting designs for the home.

“This strategic investment allows Design LED to significantly accelerate plans to deliver highly differentiated products to an international market desperate to conserve energy, and hungry for exciting new form factors in LED lighting,” said Stuart Bain, CEO, Design LED Products Ltd

Existing Design LED Products shareholders also invested alongside IKEA GreenTech, including most significantly Scottish Enterprise, via its investment arm the Scottish Investment Bank. A number of Scottish “business angel” investment groups also participated in this investment round, including Strathtay Ventures, Tricap Ventures, and Highland Ventures.

SemiLEDs Debuts New Chip Scale ReadyMount™ EC LED Series
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 27, 2014...SemiLEDs Corporation has made available its latest line of white chip scale packages, the ReadyMount™ Enhanced CSP, or EC series. The EC series combines the company’s Enhanced Flip chip (EF) approach with its ReadyWhite™ phosphor technology. SemiLEDs boasts that the EC series offers unprecedented reliability, manufacturability, and flexibility in a single 1.4 x 1.4mm low-profile packaged LED chip. The EC LED series, an SMD component, is rated for input power of up to 3W and is ready for surface mounting on any board level module or COB application. According to the company, this flexibility in mounting on board level modules or COB applications lowers capital costs and enables very high lumen density designs.

Mark Tuttle, general manager for SemiLEDs Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., commented, “Our unique Chip Scale Package (CSP) brings all the benefits of SemiLEDs’ rugged EF Series FlipChip architecture to an extremely compact emitter, which is simple to integrate using standard tape and reel surface mount manufacturing. This innovation reduces final component cost up to 50%, with a packaging cost reduction of up to 80% over conventional packaging. EC Series products, such as the EC-W1414, enable system-integrators and luminaire manufacturers a direct path to a highly cost effective solution on a per-lumen basis now, with additional viewing angles and die sizes under development.”

While useful for compact multi-die white LED packages, SemiLEDs says that its ReadyMount products are particularly useful for light-engine and luminaire manufacturers who previously relied exclusively upon packaged die solutions. The EC Series incorporates the EF FlipChip design in which the electrical contacts are positioned on the bottom of the chip. The bottom positioning leaves an emitting surface that is uninterrupted by top-side electrodes or wire bonds. The compact chip-scale package measures just 0.4mm high. At 1A, it can produce outputs of up to 300 lumens. The SemiLEDs EC series comes in standard ReadyWhite™ correlated color temperatures from 2700K to 10,000K with color rendering indices up to 90 minimum. The elimination of the wire allows nearly edge-to-edge emitting chip surface. Therefore, die can be mounted very close together.

The company says that the glass top surface is also very mechanically robust, unlike flip chips or wire-bond with a silicone covering. According to SemiLeds, the ReadyWhite technology enables the typical 145-degree field of view to provide good color-over-angle characteristics. The SemiLEDs EC series is ideal for architectural, indoor, and outdoor lighting, as well as torches/flashlights. The company notes that the LED series’ rugged architecture and compact size are also well suited for LCD backlighting and mobile device flashes. SemiLEDs’ EC series of LED chips is RoHS compliant with production quantities now available.

Cree and Lextar Electronics Announce Investment, Supply, and Licensing Agreement
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 27, 2014...Durham, North Carolina- based Cree, Inc. has reportedly agreed to invest in Lextar Electronics Corporation and supply Lextar with sapphire-based LED chips. Under the terms of the agreement, Cree will invest about $83 million to purchase 83 million Lextar shares at NT$30 per share. Lextar and Cree are also entering into a long-term LED chip supply agreement and a royalty-bearing license agreement for certain Cree LED chip and component intellectual property. Upon the closing of the investment, Cree will own about 13% of Lextar.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the investment, supply and licensing agreement scheduled to close in Cree’s second quarter of fiscal year 2015, pending the approval of Lextar’s shareholders and the Taiwan Investment Committee, and other customary closing conditions.

Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO said, “Working with Lextar to supply high-quality, mid-power LED chips enables Cree to focus its resources on the high-performance, high-power LED chips that differentiate Cree LEDs in the market. This approach provides the operational and financial flexibility to help Cree achieve the best return on our people and invested capital.”

“Lextar has established a strong technology position and customer base in the mid-power backlighting LED segment, while Cree has had outstanding performance in the high-power LED component and lighting markets,” said Dr. David Su, Chairman and CEO of Lextar. “The cross license of LED chip and component intellectual property will afford both Cree and Lextar the benefits from our product and technology development, thereby strengthening our mutual competitiveness in the global LED industry.”

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Commentary & Perspective...

The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
Commentary Staff

August 14, 2014...In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of light we don't want. While few probably fell off their chair on that revelation, we all tend to have so much legacy lighting around us that we tend not to reflect too much on what we're missing, much less on what we're getting that we really shouldn't be.

One of the first stops on the tour was into The Caverns at Natural Bridges, in the mountains of Virginia. Lots of natural wonder to be found in a mostly horizontal cave that heads into a mountain, which therefore gets deeper and deeper "underground" as you head in. That means more opportunity for water to pick up minerals on its way down, and when they hit the roof or floor of the empty space, they give the minerals back. That water also carries clay with in this particular cavern, so you get pretty impressive "mudstones" that can be scrubbed white for a day or two (also right there on their website). And you get green stuff -- algae in this case, that made it down there on some air currents, and grows courtesy of the moisture and the artificial light. Nice, broad spectrum incandescent, to enhance our viewing pleasure, is prevalent, and with close to 8 hours a day on time, it's plenty to grow. It's the light we don't want. The guide pointed out where they had begun to changeover to LED lighting, that would "supposedly" help with that. The company apparently specializes in that kind of thing. Don't know who it is yet, but hopefully they'll let us know their formula, which we'd expect to be removing some spectra that algae like, and which the viewers won't necessarily miss.

The next stop was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. A look at the high ceiling revealed some nice looking area lights that fit the model of Beta (now Cree's) original Edge product line. The optics were well done, and weren't obnoxious to look toward. With good color rendering, it made it the kind of light we do want. Unfortunately, the LED lighting doesn't appear to have gained overwhelming traction in that facility, as a number of displays protected from curious fingers behind a protective glass barrier required the traditional "bob and weave" to see it all against the glare in the glass. The original Wright flyer (the, the original... very cool) was illuminated by a beachy sort of Kitty Hawk sand dune kind of towards sunset yellow. Quite emotionally stirring, and very deficit of helpful wavelengths when it comes to visual acuity. LED lighting shouldn't be challenged to provide a cure for that - ambiance plus fidelity, all for just a few pennies per lumen. Even better would have been a bit more experiential display, with the light giving us the full sunrise-midday-sunset playback of a typical day over the course of 10 minutes, along with a background soundtrack of seabreeze, sputtering engines and enthusiastic hollering (I'd recommend they check out Telelumen's solution for the realistic light playback -- Yo, Smithsonian. Tell Steve Paolini we said "Hi").

At the Smithsonian Art and Portrait gallery, CMH and halogen were the watchwords. One of the few artifacts in the extensive gallery was a civil war sword. The sign read (paraphrase), "This is a replica. The original is carefully stored away to prevent it from being damaged by light." There's a thrill! A genuine, real live, carefully detailed replica. We could have gotten that in the wax museum in Gatlinburg, TN (lots of LED lights in that town... sort of Orlando in the mountains). In a room only lit by artificial light, should we really need to protect a treasure from the damage that light can cause? Maybe we can put in the kind of light we want, and get rid of the kind we don't.

The good news here is the LED lighting is in its infancy when it comes to what we know, or don't know, about light. As we've said many times before, incumbent technologies didn't offer a particularly cost-effective solution set to test each and every wavelength. LEDs open that door, and with that, our knowledge. We've mentioned it a lot, but it's only because we don't want anyone to miss it: This whole thing is about what our light can do for us, and very quickly, it will also be about what our light has been doing too us. Up til now, anyone has been able to claim, "That's all we had." No one was suing their employers for using kerosene lamps, since the choice then was those, or darkness. When Edison heated that wire, we quickly had good, healthy (enough) light. Then came the longevity and efficiency of fluorescent which quickly devolved to devising the bare minimum of phosphor spikes to fool our eyes into thinking it looked ok, but do we really know what we were missing? Soon enough, we'll know what the lack of, or extra of, in terms of photons were or weren't doing for us. Then there will be published papers that get cited in the lawsuits for decades of bad lighting causing many of the ails of society. And the justifiable defense will be "We didn't know." All will be forgiven, with the out of court settlement being total conversion to "natural" LED lighting (with none of the bad additives).

This will be way better than that incandescent bulb ban. We promise.

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