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2014-10-17
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Editorial: Still Plenty of LED/Lighting Breakthroughs Left
 
... For many in the LED industry who have watched, and lived, the steady march of technology for the last decade, it's pretty easy to get jaded about the technology. Not in a bad way, but just a bored kind of one. "Let me guess," they say, "next year we'll...
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Commentary...
Still Plenty of LED/Lighting Breakthroughs Left

 
... For many in the LED industry who have watched, and lived, the steady march of technology for the last decade, it's pretty easy to get jaded about the technology. Not in a bad way, but just a bored kind of one. "Let me guess," they say, "next year we'll...

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

Osram Claims Lab-Produced LED Brightest Ever for Car Headlights
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 14, 2014...At Vision Congress in Paris (October 14 and 15, 2014) Osram Opto Semiconductors is showcasing an LED for car headlights, which the company says has three times the luminance of existing versions. The company notes that this single LED can provide a complete low beam. Whereas several LED chips were required in the past with the number dependent on the design and the type of LEDs used.

The company says it developed the new LED’s tremendous brightness using a combination of its ceramic conversion technology, its UX:3 chip technology, and high-current technology used in projection applications. Osram Opto boasts that future headlights could be much smaller with every lighting function smaller than a box of matches.

While currently the LED being showcased is a lab-based result, the company contends that a low beam unit measuring only 30 mm x 50 mm generating a 1400 lumens from a single LED chip could be a reality in just a few years. The 200 megacandelas per m² LED has three times the luminance of existing LEDs for these applications. It loses less than ten percent of its intensity even at high operating temperatures of 85°C, according to the company.

"In developing the LED we applied our extensive experience in projection applications to combine the high-current technology used in such applications with UX:3 chip technology and ceramic conversion technology which is standard practice for white headlight LEDs,“ said Stefan Grötsch, Senior Key Expert at Osram Opto Semiconductors.

Like the company did with its Osram Ostar used in projection applications, the company soldered the chip directly to the copper. The copper allows large amounts of heat from the high-output LED to be dissipated much more easily. The company says that under laboratory conditions, the light distribution from the LED proves that it will meet the standards for automotive headlights.

Nanoco and Osram Sign Follow-on Agreement for Joint Development of Quantum Dots for LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 14, 2014...Nanoco Group plc of Manchester, UK, a developer and manufacturer of cadmium-free quantum dots and other nanomaterials, reported that it has signed a follow-on joint development agreement with Osram. Nanoco says that Osram plans to use the quantum dots in general lighting.

Nanoco points out that producing white light from a blue LED tends to produce light that is weak in red wavelengths. The deficiency in red wavelengths results in light that fails to show true colors and lacks warmth. Nanoco asserts that its quantum dots can potentially overcome these issues, which the company says are limiting the widespread adoption of LEDs in certain general lighting applications in which color reproduction is important.

Since 2011, Nanoco has been working with Osram under joint development agreements with the goal of creating LED lighting with superior performance. So far, Nanoco says that the companies have made considerable progress in optimizing the procedure to incorporate Nanoco's cadmium-free quantum dots with blue LEDs. During this latest phase of work with Osram, which is for a 12-month period, the companies intend to advance the product development.

Michael Edelman, Nanoco's CEO, said, "We're delighted to sign this latest joint development agreement with Osram and we are very excited about the potential of our technology in general lighting. We have worked with Osram since 2011 and have made significant technical progress towards the development of an LED incorporating cadmium-free quantum dots and offering substantially improved color performance."

Mass Production Begins on Seoul Semiconductor’s Acrich MJT 3030
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 14, 2014...Seoul Semiconductor of Seoul, Korea, made available the Acrich MJT 3030 a new LED in the company's Acrich MJT product family. The company says it improves on performance and enables lower system costs. The Acrich MJT 3030 employs Seoul Semiconductor’s high-reliability Acrich MJT technology. According to Seoul Semiconductor, the MJT 3030 LED offers high lm/$ and improved performance compared to previous versions in a mid-power package.

This new Acrich series measures 3.0mm x 3.0mm and delivers 103 lumens at 40mA at 22V, 25° C, 3000K. The 3030 LED can be driven to a maximum current of 60mA at high voltage to provide up to 155 lumens. At high voltage and 60 mA it consumes 1.5 W for over 103 lm/W efficacy. The company designed the LED for high-lumen applications that require high reliability and low cost. Seoul points out that Energy Star® qualification is easier with the already completed 6,000 hours LM-80 data of the Acrich MJT 3030 LED.

The LED uses the company’s high voltage architecture and its Acrich MJT "Multi-Junction chip Technology". The company claims that the Acrich MJT 3030 LED eliminates the tradeoff between size and efficacy. The LED allows operation in either DC or AC mode, depending on your configuration. The Acrich IC reportedly eliminates the need for an AC/DC converter and is said to improve reliability and simplify integration when making lighting fixtures.

The MJT 3030 boasts low THD and a 0.97 power factor both help save energy and optimize designs. In the DC-mode, according to the company, the low-current use of the Acrich MJT 3030 can reduce the cost of the power supply and lower the number of components. The company contends that the Acrich MJT 3030 LED optimizes performance in both AC and DC configurations.

"The new Acrich MJT 3030 LED combines the improved performance and high lm/$ with the reliability of the MJT technology enabling lighting manufacturers to create new innovative solutions to address a wide range of lighting applications,” said Seoul Semiconductor executive vice president of lighting sales, Jay Kim.

Duke Researchers Speed Up Fluorescence for Faster Turn-on LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 14, 2014...Duke Researchers Speed Up Fluorescence for Faster Turn-on LEDs

Duke University researchers have made fluorescent molecules emit photons of light 1,000 times sooner after being turned on than normal. While LEDs appear to turn on instantly, they are apparently not fast enough to make light-based communications truly practical. Modern telecommunications systems, operate nearly a thousand times faster. Atoms in an LED can emit about 10,000 photons when the LED is turned on. The researchers sandwiched fluorescent molecules between metal nanocubes and a gold film to achieve record photon emission rates from the molecules. The results appear online October 12 in Nature Photonics.

“One of the applications we’re targeting with this research is ultrafast LEDs,” said Maiken Mikkelsen, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at Duke. “While future devices might not use this exact approach, the underlying physics will be crucial.”

Mikkelsen’s group created 75-nanometer silver nanocubes and trapped light between them, producing much more intense light. Through an effect called Purcell enhancement, the molecules emit photons at a faster rate when fluorescent molecules are placed near intensified light.

The group with the help of co-author David R. Smith, the James B. Duke Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke, used computer simulations to determine the exact size of the gap between the nanocubes and gold film so that the gap’s resonate frequency maximized the photon emission rate for the color of light that the molecules respond to. The optimum gap was just 20 atoms wide. Because the experiment used many randomly aligned molecules, the researchers believe they can get the emission rate even higher.

Being a Morning or Evening Person May Be the Result of Light Quality According to Royal Philips
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 9, 2014...A Royal Philips whitepaper has gathered findings from over ten years of research on the effect of light on human sleep/wake cycles known as “circadian rhythms”. The whitepaper asserts that the amount and quality of light a person is exposed to daily may be responsible for their Monday morning blues. Furthermore, the report claims that the light may ultimately dictate whether you are a morning person or a night owl.

In humans, the company notes, lighting plays helps regulate circadian rhythm or body clock. The report says that our circadian rhythms run a little slower than an artificial clock on average, going for 24 hours and 30 minutes. The report says that for this reason people are naturally inclined to sleep and wake 30 minutes later each day. So, if not regulated, our sleep/wake cycle could be off by more than 2 hours by the end of the week.

Alarm clocks can offer one method of managing the time lag that our naturally slower circadian rhythm creates. However, Royal Philips says that scientists recently discovered that the color temperature of light which hits the photoreceptors in our eyes, specifically its blueness, can regulate our internal body clock, and can also reset it every single day.

The rising and setting sun has regulated our body clocks like those of many animals for thousands of years. Today high intensity artificial blue-rich light can also reset our body clock because of its qualitative resemblance to natural morning light. Our modern 9 to 5 lifestyle means that we may not be getting enough sleep with our natural tendency to sleep in. The company notes that while longer sleep during weekends may compensate for the lack of rest during the week, it can reset a later circadian rhythm the following week, resulting in ‘Monday morning blues’.

“The message from nature is clear,” said Light and Sleep Scientist at Philips Research, Luc Schlangen. “Our bodies have evolved a kind of steering wheel, constantly adjusting the sleep wake cycle, driven by light, allowing us to adapt to the differing daylight lengths during the seasons. We can help regulate our body clock through lighting by providing light injections at appropriate times, for instance through brighter office lighting on Monday mornings.”

Philips says that exposure to blue-rich light, which is like natural sunlight in the morning can speed up our circadian rhythm to wake us earlier.

Lighting expert Professor Derk Jan Dijk of the University of Surrey added, “Dimming lights a few hours before bedtime facilitates a more rapid onset to sleep and it will prevent your body clock from being shifted to later hours. If you want to shift your clock to earlier hours it is good to be exposed to light and specifically high intensity blue-rich light, when you wake up.”

Luminus XNOVA chip-on-board LED Arrays Complete 6000 Hr. LM-80 Testing; Company Offers Limited 5-year Warranty on the Arrays
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 9, 2014...Luminus Devices Inc of Billerica, Massachusetts USA reports that the company’s XNova COB LED arrays have completed 6000 hour LM-80 testing. The company says that the arrays demonstrated robust lumen maintenance and long term color stability under extreme conditions. As a result, the company has begun offering a five year limited warranty for the XNOVA family of chip-on-board (COB) arrays designed for both indoor and outdoor directional lighting applications.

“Our XNOVA COB arrays have already been recognized by customers as having industry-leading efficacy, value, and quality of light, and now we have long term data and the 5 year warranty to give customers peace of mind knowing that their fixtures and bulbs will comply with Energy Star and deliver consistent performance for many years to come," says Jim Miller, executive, VP of sales & marketing for Luminus. "Our mission is to help our customers achieve new levels of performance in their end products, so that they can gain advantages over their competitors, and this 5 year warranty helps our customers confidently position themselves as providers of robust, long lasting bulbs and luminaires."

SiliconCore Launches 1.2mm Pixel Pitch LED Display
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 9, 2014...SiliconCore is launching what the company claims to be the highest resolution LED display ever manufactured, the Lavender 1.2mm. The company will showcase the new display at Infocomm MEA on Booth TA-120 from 13th – 16th October in Dubai. The Lavender 1.2mm achieves Full HD in a 110” diagonal display.

The Common Cathode LED manufacturer claims that the new display is the first ever to achieve 1.2 mm pixel pitch. The display is ideal for close proximity viewing within command, control, simulation, as well as corporate or broadcast viewing. Siliconcore says the display uses a fraction of the power consumption of traditional displays.

SiliconCore uses what the company calls common cathode technology to drive the LEDs. It replaces the traditional common anode approach. According to the company, the common cathode technology design is a much more efficient. It ensures that less power is wasted as heat and increases the lifespan of the display for a low total cost of ownership.

Eric Li, President and CEO of SiliconCore commented,

“We have been working towards this product for several years, with the Orchid 1.9mm and Magnolia 1.50mm pioneering the way for its development, so we are very proud to finally be shipping."

“With a close proximity viewing distance of less than one metre, LED is now operating in the same space as existing large format display technologies. The display also comes with the additional benefit of being scalable for any size or shape application and due to the nature of LED is truly seamless. The clarity, uniformity and viewing angle are other market leading benefits that now new markets can utilise for comfortable large screen viewing.”

GPE Ardenghi Srl Introduces New Screen Printer With UV LED Curing

October 9, 2014...GPE Ardenghi srl of Hillsboro, Oregon USA, has introduced the new Mod. GPE/24-LED automatic screen printer. UV LED curing technology enables the printer. The new machine can perform screen printing on pens, barrels and other small round articles. The printer employs LED technology from Phoseon that provides the maximum UV output with lower energy consumption, and cooler operating temperatures that allow for printing on heat sensitive substrates. 

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Commentary & Perspective...

Still Plenty of LED/Lighting Breakthroughs Left
Commentary Staff

October 17, 2014...For many in the LED industry who have watched, and lived, the steady march of technology for the last decade, it's pretty easy to get jaded about the technology. Not in a bad way, but just a bored kind of one. "Let me guess," they say, "next year we'll be able to pack 15% more lumens in the same space, at 10% better efficacy and 9% lower cost per lumen." The numbers vary from year to year, and person to person, but it seems rather ho-hum at times. Admittedly, tech folks are thrill junkies, and like the Red Bull addicts, the same dose over and over just won't do it. You need more than yesterday's dose to get the same buzz.

Yes, there are highlights (and milestones) that come to mind from year to year, but usually not in the "base" technology, but rather from ancillary tracks of some kind. Soraa was one of those when, a few years back, they announced their non-polar GaN-on-GaN approach that allowed them to drive the heck out of their violet LEDs without sacrifcing much in efficiency. Since violet is down there in a shorter wavelength than the standard blue LEDs that make up most of our phosphor converted approach to white lighting, it let them widen the spectrum down at the bottom, hitting spots in that nearly near UV that halogens and sunlight down, which can make for brighter brights and whiter whites (with the help of optical brightening agents that makers of fabrics and paper and such have added for years). They made the most of that advantage by fattening up the phosphor spectrum a bit, and producing very nice looking light. They don't boast much about the raw efficiency, both because better quality of light comes as a bit of a tradeoff that way, but also because they aimed to better the more compact halogens, such as MR16's, and 15 lumens per watt isn't really hard to beat. Soundly. An interesting breakthrough.

We saw a significant milestone a week or so ago when Shuji Nakamura (a co-founder of Soraa) was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in creating a mass-produceable blue LED. The prize is shared with Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Nagoya University, Japan, and Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University. Really quite cool, since the invention itself is not all that remarkable... a little chunk of material that glows blue, and not an terribly complex set of parts that let humans fly through the air, or someting. Much like the computer chip really first showed up in something as ordinary as calculators, don't be surprised if we look back in a few decades and recognize that while the airplane changed a lot, like the humble microprocessor did before it, the blue (and white, and color-adaptable) LEDs that enabled our world of solid state lighting, ended up changing almost everything in and around our built spaces.

Which leads to our headline up there contending that there are still plenty of breakthroughs left. OLEDs have just scratched the surface of their capabilities to do stuff. We're not big proponents that they're the way will do lighting in the near future, but the can do some pretty neat tricks when it comes to display technologies, or the ability to put light and color where it really couldn't be before. When they really do become printable and maybe even paintable, why struggle at the paint store to find the perfect mix of colors, when you can just spin the wall color knob?

Some news this week from Osram suggested there are still impressive leaps going on as they showcased a single chip solution that could deliver enough lumen output to create a automobile headlight that was the size of a box of matches (which we see fewer and fewer of these days, so how about we say it's about the size of the key fob on that same car...). We promise that we're not far off from seeing headlights that "watch and think", making use of sensors, MEMS and/or adaptive optics to aim our headlights the right way, and brighten and dim them to accomodate oncoming traffic.

And then there's the whole Internet of Things. The IoT sounds a bit hippie ("everything will talk to everything and will all play happily together in the sandbox of life, man...") but it's real, and will make the cool things we do with our smart phones today look like baby stuff. At least until we get used to our car doors, and house doors, and office doors all opening just for us, with our lights adjusting to us just before we walk in a room, and our TVs or iMusic dialing itself to exactly what we want, exactly when we would have wanted it. The fridge will inventory what goes in and out, and suggest shopping lists that we'll edit and approve with hand waves in the air, and the stuff will just show up. But when we stop to think about it, a few of us will notice that the lights in our ceilings have turned out to be the hosts for a lot of the devices that watch and measure and protect us, and we'll realize that it was all because of some sharp, hard-working folks at Bell Labs that figured out you could get blue light out of a chunk of gallium, and some other sharp, hard-working folks in Japan that kept at their crystal growth processes and epitaxial reactors, over and over again, until they got a material that made a blue LED that could make a pretty decent amount of light. And it was efficient, and it got better, and we put them in all our spaces, and they watch us and serve us (and hopefully don't take over at some point).

We should stay impressed.

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