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2014-10-31
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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 Opto Semiconductors Launches Displix Oval for Outdoor LED Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 30, 2014...Osram Opto Semiconductors has introduced a surface-mountable, oval-shaped LED for outdoor displays called Displix Oval. It measures just 2.1 x 2.7 x 1.5 mm. The company contends that this small footprint allows almost twice as many LEDs to be mounted on a board than with ordinary radial diodes, doubling both the pixel density and the display resolution. According to Osram Opto the higher pixel density and resolution results in extremely vivid images with high color homogeneity.

The company points out that the high pixel density allows lower brightness for individual pixels. Therefore, individual LEDs can operate on lower current. Furthermore, the company says that combined with the durable packaging materials, the lower required output extends the lifetime of the LEDs.

The Displix Oval has a black QFN (Quad Flat No Leads) housing, which the company claims reduces reflections and increases the contrast and color quality of the images displayed on the entire display.

“Being surface mounted, SMT LEDs like the Displix Oval have very low tilt tolerances per diode. A display fitted with the new LEDs hence has a stable and very homogenous color appearance when viewed from virtually any angle,” said Sven Weber, who is in charge of product marketing of the Displix Oval at Osram Opto Semiconductors.

According to the company, both the processes and the processing of the Displix Oval are much simpler than with radial LEDs, greatly reducing OEM customers’ further processing costs.

Additionally, the very flat Displix Oval requires less silicone for the potting of the boards to protect the contacts from rain and moisture. This enables customers to reduce the amount of material used, which again has a considerable impact on their outlays. The LED has beam angles of 110° (horizontal) and 60° (vertical). Red and yellow offer 1 candela, the green version delivers 2.6 candela, and the blue provides 600 milli-candela.

Multi-layer Quantum Dot-based LED Achieves Performance Equivalent to Best Vacuum-Processed OLEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 30, 2014...Researchers as Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, claim to have achieved the highest efficiency for a solution processed red LED. The researchers led by Xingliang Dai of the university's School of Material Science and Engineering, said that the multi-layer, quantum dot-based red LED's efficiency was equivalent to the best vacuum deposited OLEDs on the market. The research was reported in the journal Nature published online on October 29, 2014.

The researchers note that quantum dot LEDs tend to be inferior to the best vacuum deposited OLEDs in terms of efficiency efficiency roll-off at high current densities, turn-on voltage and lifetime under operational conditions.

The researchers report that their quantum dot-based LED produces colour-saturated deep-red emission, sub-bandgap turn-on at 1.7 volts, high external quantum efficiencies of up to 20.5 per cent, low efficiency roll-off (up to 15.1 per cent of the external quantum efficiency at 100 mA cm−2).

According to the researchers, the red, quantum dot-based LED has an expected operational lifetime of more than 100,000 hours at 100 cd m−2.

The team inserted "an insulating layer between the quantum dot layer and the oxide electron-transport layer to optimize charge balance in the device and preserve the superior emissive properties of the quantum dots."

This optoelectronic performance is achieved by inserting an insulating layer between the quantum dot layer and the oxide electron-transport layer to optimize charge balance in the device and preserve the superior emissive properties of the quantum dots. The researchers expect that their results will spark further research, leading to high-performance, all-solution-processed quantum-dot-based LEDs ideal for next-generation display and solid-state lighting technologies.

LG Announces End of Plasma TV Business
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 30, 2014...LG Electronics of South Korea has officially announced the wind down and end of its Plasma TV business, which will be by November. According to a Reuter's article, LG Electronics revealed in regulatory filing that demand has declined in for plasma TVs. LG said that the Plasma TV business currently accounts for only about 2.4 percent of its revenue. LCD TVs have taken over the global market, and OLED TVs are beginning to gain a foothold in the high-end TV market.

Reuters cited analysts who said that plasma displays were unable to compete with the advances in screen resolutions and the lower power consumption of LCD-TVs. LED backlit and edge lit TVs are starting to gain market share as well.

Market research firm, NPD DisplaySearch predicted in July that global plasma TV shipments will decline to 500,000 in 2015, which is more than a 90 percent drop off from the 5.2 million in 2014.

Samsung remains the only major display maker to still produce plasma TVs. Panasonic reportedly exited the Plasma TV business last October.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Class Uses Oslon Compact LEDs for Adaptive Front Lighting
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 31, 2014...Mercedes-Benz has equipped its new CLS Class automobiles with adaptive front lighting systems with Oslon Compact LEDs from Osram Opto Semiconductors. The company says that the very compact, high-power LEDs, which measure 1.6mm by 1.2 mm, can be placed very close together in the headlight systems for adaptive front lighting. In addition to this current project, Osram and Daimler are collaborating to devise future automotive lighting systems as partners in the µAFS research project that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) sponsors.

The adaptive front lighting system for the new CLS reportedly helps increase visibility in every situation. Each module within the headlight consists of 24 LEDs that use the company's UX:3 chip technology to achieve high luminous efficacy even at high currents. The modules can be arranged close together in the headlight with a high degree of flexibility. Osram Opto notes that these LEDs therefore provide the basis for both AFS and light guide solutions.

A camera mounted on the windshield covers the area in front of the vehicle. From this camera four controllers select which LEDs to brighten, which to dim, and which to turn off completely to achieve the ideal light distribution. The controllers perform calculations based on the input from the camera 100 times per second to determine the best lighting for the driver.

Samsung Ends LED Lighting Business, Continues LED Components Business
SSL Design News Staff

October 28, 2014...Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. reported that it will end its LED lighting business outside of South Korea. The company began the LED lighting business just four years ago, but has seen increasing price pressure from rivals in recent years. Pricing pressure across the industry has also lead Philips of the Netherlands, a Samsung rival, to recently spin off its 100-year-old lighting business, and it has lead Osram another LED lighting business rival to lay-off about 8,000 employees.

A Reuters report cited an emailed statement from the company, "We will remain active in the LED industry through our LED component business," adding that Samsung will focus on backlighting for displays of consumer products like televisions.

Luminus launches 1W SMD LED with 170° Emission Angle
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 28, 2014...Luminus Devices Inc based in Billerica, Massachusetts, USA, has launched the XNOVA Cube, a 1 watt SMD LED with a 170° viewing angle. Luminus contends that the XNOVA Cube improves system efficacy, reduces cost, and simplifies omni-directional products.

Unlike traditional mid-power LEDs, which Luminus says were originally designed for LCD backlighting, Luminus designed the XNOVA Cube specifically for illumination applications requiring high quality of light. The small 1.9mm by 1.9mm package has a 170 degree viewing angle, which the company claims is the widest in the industry. Luminus claims that the XNOVA cube emits more light than any mid-power LED.

“The XNOVA Cube has opened-up new design options for our customers in the highly competitive panel lighting, linear and omni-directional lamp markets,” said Jim Miller, executive VP of sales & marketing. “They are able to reduce LED count by as much as 30% and at the same time cut power consumption by 10%, which enables further cost reductions in drivers, thermal systems, and optical components.”

Luminus Devices is exhibiting its XNOVA illumination product line at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (27-30 October).

MeU Launches Wearable and App-Controllable LED Display
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 28, 2014...MeU of Toronto, Canada, announced the launch of its wearable LED display, the MeU Square. A smartphone application can mange MeU Square, which the company designed for customizing clothing and accessories. MeU Square, a square 16 by 16 grid of RGB LEDs allows the user to display any pattern, image, or text to instantly communicate with people who can see the display. .

"We seek to improve communication with our surroundings, including important alerts and updates that you may not get otherwise, like when the next bus is coming," said Robert Tu, CEO and founder of MeU. "The display is a great combination of function and design. The display's open-source technology sets no limits to the designer's creativity across many applications and is the perfect platform for the maker and developer communities."

The MeU team is working on developing applications for fashion, marketing, cycling, and urban informatics. MeU says cyclists can display a flashing pattern or other signals on their backs to communicate with other road users. A group hike leader can keep participants informed or a construction worker can wear a blinking patternto help alert those passing by of potentially unsafe conditions.

The company says that the ability to display public transit updates on the vests of employees or receive weather alerts from pedestrians can help the city to run smoother. Having been featured in Toronto's first men's fashion week, the product can also portray a dynamic fashion statement.

The full-color LED matrix display consists of 256 LEDs, a microcontroller, and a Bluetooth radio that enables wireless communication with other devices. The company contends that the thin and flexible panel conforms to the body and can be worn with any style of clothing. After downloading the smartphone app, the user can choose from existing icons and animations or create their own content to send to the LED display.

"We're looking for tech savvy developers, who are open to working with the initial developer kit," added Tu. "The kit includes the MeU Square, a rechargeable battery, a micro USB cable, and the MeU Demo Mobile App."

The MeU Square will be available for pre-order for $270 USD.

St. Paul Baseball Team to Get Daktronics Equipment at New Park
LIGHTimes News Staff

October 28, 2014...The St. Paul Saints baseball team out of Saint Paul, Minnesota USA, has contracted Daktronics of Brookings, South Dakota. Under the contract, Daktronics will design, manufacture and install a new video display and scoreboard at their new field, CHS Field. The St. Paul Saints will be opening their inaugural season next year at CHS Field. The Saints plan to have this project completed later this fall.

"We've had a longstanding relationship with Daktronics in St. Paul and with several other of our clubs in The Goldklang Group. Daktronics' products and services are second-to-none and have come to play a big part in the fun we try to create at every game. The displays at CHS Field are a perfect complement to what will be the best baseball experience in North America," according to Tom Whaley, Saints' Executive Vice-President.

The main video display for the team will measure about 49 feet wide by 27.5 feet high and will feature a 15HD pixel layout. Daktronics will install the display in left-center field. In addition to sponsor advertisements, scoring information, and game statistics, the display can show vivid graphics as well as colorful animations and images. Daktronics says that displays will have multiple levels of protection from the elements.

"Daktronics is excited to extend our relationship with the St. Paul Saints, and to partner on the CHS Field project," said sales representative Joey Hulsebus. "This innovated ball park will be an exciting addition to the Lowertown community. The Daktronics products will assist in developing a new game-day experience for the Saints fans."

The Saints will also be receiving a fixed-digit scoreboard that will display basic baseball information such as pitch count, at bat, hits, and errors.

The Saints will also receive a bank of hours for the creation of digital content that Daktronics Creative Services will produce and deliver. This content will consist of any mixture of sponsorship messages, crowd prompts, headshots, game opens and venue announcements at the request of the Saints.

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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.

If you have questions about the solid state lighting and compound semiconductor industries or have
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