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2014-12-16
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Editorial: We’ve Just Scratched the Surface – Adoption, Science, Integrated controls
 
... The US Department of Energy recently held its annual Market Development Workshop in Detroit, Michigan, with a few key takeaways for anyone in attendance. We’ve just scratched the surface on adoption – When you’re immersed in the industry, it’s easy to understand the compelling case for LED lighting versus...
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Commentary...
We’ve Just Scratched the Surface – Adoption, Science, Integrated controls

 
... The US Department of Energy recently held its annual Market Development Workshop in Detroit, Michigan, with a few key takeaways for anyone in attendance. We’ve just scratched the surface on adoption – When you’re immersed in the industry, it’s easy to understand the compelling case for LED lighting versus...

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

Cubic GaN Shows Potential for LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 16, 2014...Anvil Semiconductors and the Cambridge Centre for GaN at the University of Cambridge report having grown cubic GaN on 3C-SiC (silicon carbide) wafers using MOCVD. Anvil produced the underlying 3C-SiC layers using the company's patented stress relief IP that enables growth of device quality silicon carbide on 100mm diameter silicon wafers. Anvil contends that the process can work with 150mm diameter wafers and possibly beyond without modification and is therefore suitable for industrial-scale applications. In a project funded by Innovate UK, the MOCVD growth trials at Cambridge resulted in single phase, cubic GaN. The layers, characterized by XRD, TEM, photoluminescence and AFM, have potential for LED applications.

According to the researchers, the cubic GaN may be able to remove the strong internal electric fields, which plague conventional green LEDs, impair recombination, and make it difficult to address high internal quantum efficiency (IQE). Also, the researchers note that cubic GaN has a narrower bandgap and improved p-type electrical properties compared to the conventional hexagonal GaN phase used for LEDs. Therefore, a commercializable process to produce cubic GaN on large diameter silicon wafers may help increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of LED lighting.

The team plans to continue development to eventually fabricate sample LEDs before looking for an industry partner to commercialize the technology.

Sanan Orders 50 MOCVD Reators from Veeco for LED Production
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 12, 2014...Veeco Instruments Inc. of Plainview, New York USA, announced that Sanan Optoelectronics, the largest LED manufacturer in China, has ordered 50 TurboDisc® EPIK700™ Gallium Nitride (GaN) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) reactors for the production of LEDs. This order is the equivalent of 25 EPIK700 MOCVD “C2” (cluster) systems.

“Sanan chose the EPIK700 due to its industry leading cost of ownership model and excellent footprint efficiency,” said Zhiqiang Lin, vice chairman and CEO of Sanan. “Our beta testing of EPIK700 proved its production-worthiness, and we are confident in its capabilities and value to our Xiamen business expansion plans. Veeco has been a great partner for Sanan as we have solidified our position as the top LED manufacturer in China and increased our business outside of China as well.”

Veeco's EPIK700 MOCVD system uses the company's TurboDisc technology to achieve a cost per wafer savings of up to 20 percent compared to previous generation MOCVD systems. The savings comes through increased productivity, improved wafer uniformity, and reduced operating expenses.

“This large order from Sanan, the largest single purchase order Veeco has received since 2009, speaks volumes about the EPIK700’s production readiness and the recovery in the MOCVD market,” said John Peeler, Veeco’s chairman and CEO. “We are in a great position to continue to serve our LED customers with the best MOCVD technology and customer support, and remain the industry leader.”

XL Video Provides LED Columns for Hugo Boss Event
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 16, 2014...Working for client, Bureau Betak, XL Video supplied 40 4-sided LED columns and media control for the New York Fashion Week show of Jason Wu for Hugo Boss. The show took place at 4 World Trade Center on the eve of 9/11. Agency Bureau Betak approached XL Video’s senior account executive, Tim Riley, to design and produce the catwalk event. Bureau Betak asked Riley to deliver dozens of 10’ tall columns of LED displays.

Each of the 40, one-foot-wide square columns was encased in XL’s Pixled 9mm LED video display. To make the columns appear seamless, XL Video’s R&D team in China manufactured a set of custom rails for the LED to clip to. The custom rails were affixed to the wooden columns that the set company built. The rails ensured that all the LED could be mounted to the columns in just 24 hours by XL’s Project Manager, Will Nazarowski and lead LED technician, Curtis Luxton.

Don Stevens, liaised with both Bureau Betak and the content creators to map-out the content across all 160 facets of LED to ensure the client’s content looked flawless and flowed across the columns.

Stevens controlled the content on the day of the event using one of XL’s Stumpfl Wings Quad media servers.

Tim Riley commented, “Bureau Betak came up with and delivered an incredible design for Hugo Boss. The show inside the new 4 World Trade Center building, just a day before 9/11, made this a topical and poignant event, and was made more impressive by its view and location on the 48th floor.”

Startup Allos Semiconductors now Offers Licensing for Azzurro's GaN-on-Si Patents and Technology
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 16, 2014...ALLOS Semiconductors GmbH, a newly founded company based in Dresden, Germany, who specializes in GaN-on-Si technology, announced that it has acquired all the patents and technology of former Azzurro Semiconductors at an auction. In addition to its existing offering of GaN-on-Si technology ALLOS is now making the AZZURRO technology platform available through technology transfer, licencing and customised development work.

In June of 2014, ALLOS Semiconductors was formed to help meet the growing demand for technology of growing gallium nitride on silicon substrates (GaN-on-Si). An increasing number of LED and power semiconductor companies want to be able to grow 150 and 200 mm GaN-on-Si wafers to supply cost-effective high-quality GaN devices that can be processed in standard silicon fabs.

Allos complements the GaN-on-Si technology licensing with advice on business and technology strategies and support for setting up GaN-on-Si operations all the way from establishing a epitaxial wafer fab to market entry.

Specialized 3D Printer Prints Quantum Dot LEDs

December 16, 2014...A team, led by Michael McAlpine at Princeton University's McAlpine Research Group, has successfully used its 3D printer to print quantum dot LEDs, according to a CNET article. The printer cost about $20,000 and took two years to develop. QLEDs reportedly shine brighter, more efficiently, and with purer color than OLEDs. The ultra thin, flexible, and transparent QLEDs use cadmium selenide nanocrystals.

The team printed the LED in five layers. First, a ring made of silver nanoparticles was formed on the bottom layer to be the metal conduit for a mechanical circuit. Two polymer layers were then created to supply and transfer the electrical current to the next layer. The fourth layer consists of cadmium selenide nanoparticles (the quantum dots) in a case of zinc sulphide. The top and final layer is the cathode, made of eutectic gallium indium.

"What we have presented here is an additional method to integrate electronics that can take into consideration the three-dimensional geometry of an object," said study lead co-author Yong Lin Kong. He also noted that this is the first example of a fully 3D printed, fully functional electronic device.

Potential applications for the technology include wearables, such as contact lens. The team is also investigating the inclusion of a 3D-printed transistor for additional functionality.

New Infrared LED from Osram for Biometric Identification Systems
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 11, 2014...Osram has debuted the Oslux SFH 4780S, a high output IR LED that emits at a wavelength of 810 nm. Osram notes that the IR LED with a height of just 2.4 mm and a narrow emission angle, could pave the way for reliable, energy efficient biometric identification such as iris scanning incorporated into mobile devices. Osram contends that a wavelength of 810 nm is particularly suitable because it can provide high-contrast pictures of the irises of any color at comparatively low levels of light.

"The SFH 4780S from Osram Opto Semiconductors currently offers the best performance-to-size ratio. The SFH 4780S is the first IRED in the new high-performance Oslux package. Oslux LEDs have long been established for visible lighting applications in mobile devices, such as camera flash. We are now extending the range to include infrared emitters," explained Bianka Schnabel, marketing manager for infrared products at Osram.

Oslux components offer a narrow emission angle at a low height because they perfectly match the lens to the internal reflector. Also, despite the use of a lens, the Oslux has a flat component surface. Despite the low height of 2.4 mm, developers have managed to achieve an emission angle of only +- 10 degrees for a record radiant intensity of typically 2900 milliwatts per steradiant (mW/sr) at an operating current of 1 amp (A).

The IR LED's high optical output comes from a stack of two thin-film chip with an edge length of 750 mm arranged one above the other with the aid of Osram’s nanostack technology. The emitter can operate with a current of up to 2 A in pulsed mode. Thanks to its black package, the SFH 4780S can be integrated unobtrusively behind the covers of mobile devices.

Unlike current designs which often use several IREDs, this new IRED with high radiant intensity enables the iris scanner operation with just one compact emitter. Like all applications that expose the eye to infrared light, iris scanners must comply with the relevant eye safety standards.

LEDs Help Algae Grow in the Tank
LIGHTimes News Staff

December 11, 2014...Scientists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed together with the Berlin LED manufacturers FUTURELED a methodology of simulating a wide variety of lighting conditions. The scientists are studying the growth of algae with various light conditions.

According to estimates, there are about 50,000 algal and cyanobacterial species. However, only about 5,000 of these are known to date. Of these, only ten species have been grown for a commercial use. Algae and cyanobacteria can thrive even in salt water pools or on infertile soils and use much less energy to grow than food crops. Researchers are also looking to Algae to potentially be used in the production of aviation fuel.

"Algae grow much faster than soy or corn. You do not need fertile soil, pesticides per hectare per year and could bring a ten times higher yields, " said Professor Dr. Thomas Brück , head of the Department of Industrial Biocatalysis the TU Munich.

Scientists have already discovered numerous interesting products from various algae species. Many algae can produce, protein mass or build fat's chemical intermediates. Protein mass could be used as fodder to fuel or could be produced from the fats.

However, they have found that even within a species the ability to produce certain products is highly variable. "In our studies, we see again and again large differences in productivity," says Thom's camp. "We have to find not only the right kinds but also uses the candidate with the highest productivity breed."

The researchers worked with Berlin company, FutureLED to develop a light and climate simulation to optimize algae cultivation. The researchers use combinations of colored LEDs to simulate the spectrum of sunlight.

"No one can predict whether an alga from the South Seas under the lighting conditions in Germany is as productive as in their home," said Thomas Brück. "Nor do I know what this successful candidates would still be just as successful under the lighting conditions of the Sahara.All this we can test in our laboratory now. "

The efficient LEDs offer light that is between 400 and 800 nanometers in wavelength with a radiant power of up to 1000 watts per square meter and the sunlight comes close to uniform intensity distribution. Scientists can control the different types of LEDs individually to set individual spectra. Fluorescent and incandescent bulbs produce too much heat and do not allow the easy light variation. The researchers specifically needed the LEDs to activate the molecular switches of the algae that help control plant growth.

The project is funded through Industrial Biocatalysis project in the framework of the research project algae aviation fuel. Other project partners are the Departments of Biotechnology (technical scale cultivation) TUM and Chemistry II (catalytic conversion, Clariant AG (algae processing, fat separation) and the conys GmbH (hydrogen / biogas production). South of Munich, on the campus Ludwig Bölkow (LBC), researchers are currently building on the campus Ludwig Bölkow (LBC), a technical center for the study of the algal culture on a large scale. The Free State of Bavaria and the Airbus Group supporting the project with 12 million euros.

Zhaga Consortium Starts Working on New COB LED Array Specification
SSL Design News Staff

December 11, 2014...The Zhaga Consortium, which develops specifications for interchangeable LED light sources, is now working on a new Book that will include Chip-on-Board (COB) LED arrays. COB arrays are in widespread use, but different manufacturers offer a wide range of alternative sizes. The consortium notes that this creates problems for luminaire makers and other stakeholders such as COB holder suppliers and limits their options of using alternative products from different suppliers.

“We consulted many luminaire makers, and received broad support for our plans to standardize this type of LED light source,” said Musa Unmehopa, secretary general of the Zhaga Consortium. “These companies asked us to standardize properties such as the mechanical dimensions of the module, the position of electrodes, and the diameter of the light-emitting surface.”

Zhaga says its standardization removes arbitrary variations in a small number of parameters, to allow interchangeability of LED light sources. The consortium contends that for customers, standardization simplifies the comparison and selection of products. The consortium says that it allows COB-array makers to focus on offering value-added differentiation to customers, such as luminous efficacy, quality of light, or thermal properties.

“For Zhaga Books to be successful, they need to reflect the wishes of the market,” said Unmehopa. “We welcome any input from COB makers or other companies, who are invited to join Zhaga and contribute to the ongoing discussions.”

The new Zhaga Book will define rectangular and square LED modules with a circular light-emitting surface (LES) and a separate LED driver. The Book will define a family of modules with different dimensions. In the majority of cases, modules that are compliant with the new Book will employ COB technology* for the light-emitting section. However, the Zhaga specification will not prevent the use of alternative technology approaches.

After extensive discussion the consortium decided to specify a family of six rectangular or square modules, with the following PCB dimensions: 12 x 15 mm, 16 x 19 mm, 19 x 19 mm, 20 x 24 mm, 24 x 24 mm, and 28 x 28 mm.

The circular LES sizes defined in the new Book will correspond to the LES categories specified in several current Zhaga Books that cover spotlight modules (Books 3, 5, 10 and 11). COB LED arrays are used both with and without holders, depending on the luminaire type and application. The consortium expects that the new Zhaga Book will also include specifications for these holders.

In common with other Zhaga specifications, the new Book will only restrict the parameters necessary to enable interchangeability. In addition to PCB dimensions and thickness, such parameters are likely to include the location of the LES centre point; the position and size of the electrode positions; and the location of the thermal measurement point.

Screw holes will be optional, since many COB arrays are mounted directly using a thermal interface material. However, if screw holes are used, then their position and size should conform to the Zhaga specification.

Zhaga plans to discuss whether other features should be part of the specification such as a current-setting resistor to the board, for example, or the adding a temperature sensor to prevent over-temperature operation.

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Commentary & Perspective...

We’ve Just Scratched the Surface – Adoption, Science, Integrated controls
Commentary Staff

November 30, 2014...The US Department of Energy recently held its annual Market Development Workshop in Detroit, Michigan, with a few key takeaways for anyone in attendance.

We’ve just scratched the surface on adoption – When you’re immersed in the industry, it’s easy to understand the compelling case for LED lighting versus any of the incumbents. LEDs can offer a near perfect replication of the incandescent/halogen color temperature and color rendering, with nearly 50+-times the lifetime and a fraction of the energy use. The payback from the energy savings alone is now measured on the order of a year to two, not the 7-10 years of the past. Versus fluorescents, the color quality story is an even easier sell, with plenty of great quality options that run in virtual price parity with a mid to high end commercial T8 options. To those on the inside, it can seem stunning that any new build can include the “old tech” that tops out at 100 lumens/watt and offers one of the best examples of spikey spectrum out there. But when it comes to retrofits, the story is a little tougher, since the LED options aren’t offering lower initial costs, with the middle of the performance curve not really yet past the 110-130 lumen/watt zone. Paybacks in the pure “rip out what’s working fine” retrofit space do still hang out in the 5-10 range, and usually need to add in another value-point, such as dimmability or network control capabilities, to make the sale. So great news! Plenty of market left to win, and with costs (still) coming down and efficiency (still) coming up, win we shall.

We’ve just scratched the surface on the science – You’ve heard us say it before, and you’ll continue to hear it for some time. The science of light, while studied for quite some time, has really just begun. Because LED lighting is additive, instead of subtractive, when it comes to targeting specific parts of the spectrum, it becomes a whole lot easier to experiment with lighting on a larger scale. It was the antithesis of economical to generate a enough of the traditional white light needed and then cut out the frequencies you didn’t want to study (and then still have enough light). And even if you had done so, and learned something interesting, it would be hard to make the economic case to implement selective-frequency lighting when it meant throwing away most of what we generated. With LEDs, we can cost-effectively study more individual elements of the spectrum, as well as having a hope of implementing lighting systems that reflect what we learn. Several talks at the DOE conference suggested that we’re making real progress in understanding the impact of photoreceptors on biological systems (including us), but that we’ve really just begun to put many of the pieces together.

We’ve just begun to glimpse the surface of integrated controls and luminaire autonomy – While overall adoption and science are big deals, the big story is integrated controls. There practically wasn’t a session in which the topic of integrated controls, and the coming autonomy of our lighting systems, wasn’t touched upon. While we all know our lighting will be “connected” or “networked” or “integrated into the Internet of Things”, there hasn’t been a ton of discussion yet on how that occurs. The universally perceived challenge is cost, since we already know it takes $X to control an LED luminaire, and that we need to move that down to $X minus something to get to ever more competitive price points. But obviously it will take $X plus something to make it more intelligent, and to connect it. Right?...

Wrong! Remember that the paradigm for the last 100 years has been “socket plus metal equals luminaire” as well as “controls are something outside that controls the juice going into the socket”. It’s been tough enough for luminaire manufacturers to begin their transition from socket to integrated light engine to expect many to really see what’s coming. And that thing that’s coming is sensor-integrated intelligence. While that sounds like a potentially bulky and certainly expensive proposition, it’s actually quite the opposite. It wasn’t that long ago that we saw our cars move from imprecise carburetors, to highly precise mechanical fuel injection, to “suddenly cheap” electronic fuel injection. What that was a big deal is that “suddenly” it became cheap to add intelligence to the engine controls, and the result was a massive cost savings as well as higher quality result. It’s as simple as realizing that if you add sensors and intelligence, you don’t need to precision components to control something precisely. It’s like hand-eye coordination. You don’t need to know precisely how far left or right you need to adjust if you can simply “see” it needs to be moved a little more that way (or this way). Keep adjusting til you can see it’s right. Lighting will do the same. How bright is the space supposed to be? Well slide the dimmer and stop when its right. Then the sensors can see what your target is, and intelligent control can tweak things imperceptibly up and down to keep the space that bright, come rain or shine, lumen depreciation or dust building up on the optics.

Need a 3000 lumen LED fixture? Put in enough modestly priced LEDs to cover that with some overhead, then “teach” the light what its output is supposed to be, and let the sensors and intelligence keep it there. Now how much to you have to spend to deliver better lumen maintenance? The answer is “less”. Probably less than $5 buys the sensor-fused smart lighting control, and then add another $5 for wireless networking. Dumb to smart (lighting) for $10? Heck yes. A read through on one of those smartphone tear-downs shows a big chunk of expense in the display, camera, phone-radio and very high-performance/low-power processor. The LAN/Bluetooth/GPS in an iPhone 5s costs out around $7.50 (when it was introduced). Lights need a subset of the LAN functionality, and only a small fraction of the processing power. While that $10 is a huge challenge for a lightbulb, it’s a small part of a $200+ troffer, or even $100 commercial downlight, and will pay for itself in allowing the design to incorporate lower cost components (without sacrificing system precision), even without considering the value-add of a networked smart lighting system.

You might not believe us, and that’s ok for a while. Trust us that your skepticism won’t last long as you watch the innovation leaders “suddenly” deploy smart lighting systems that don’t appear to cost any much more than the dumb lights we’ve all been using. If you’re in the controls business, get ready for the big shift as your role changes from luminaire controls to “data aggregation for the building management system”. The value will no longer be in control, as the lights will take care of that themselves, but in coordination, which will include owning the user experience for the IT department that will own the lighting system.

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