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Editorial: LEDs Opening New Doors for the Science of Light
... It's really incredible to realize that light has been a subject of intense scientific curiosity for hundreds of years, but we still don't know many of it's secrets. Not that it's all that surprising, in the sense that we had sand for millions of years, and only learned how...
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Welcome to your LED Applications news channel!

The opportunities presented by the increasing rapid adoption of high brightness LEDs, in all their forms and applications, represents nothing short of a "digital revolution" for a previously "analog" world. LEDs are having a substantial disruptive effect on a number of established technologies, and where there is disruption, there is an intense need for information.

LIGHTimes Online is here to serve the information needs of the LED industry supply chain, as well as integrators and non-architectural application solution providers with technology, product and market news updates for these rapidly evolving devices. Our readership also includes LED packagers, technology enablers and service companies seeking the the answers to how best to meet their customers' needs.

For architectural lighting and applications news of interest specifically to lighting designers, specifiers, and architectural lighting decision makers, along with luminaire designers, lighting system integrators and lighting subsystem developers, please visit our sister publication, Solid State Lighting Design.

SSL is booming and the 2011/2012 Summit Series is coming back to keep the message on quality

Launched in 2008, the SSL Summit will bring the quality story to New York City in October 2011, and then back to LA in March 2012. At every one of the Summit events, the feedback remains consistent: Just what we need, do it again soon. The Summit brings together lighting decision makers with industry thought leaders, pioneers, and innovators from the across the solid state lighting eco-system.

Continuing the tradition, 2011/2012 will continue to be all about quality, quality, quality. Showcase participants and sponsors are vetted to separate the wheat from the chaff (have your IES LM-79 test reports ready!). Last year's event in NYC included representatives of over 100 million square feet of developed property, and the one thing we don't want to leave out for 2011 is you! Look into the series information at www.SSLsummit.com for the details. Sponsorships are available for the full series.

LEDs and Fixtures Brighten the Chemical Materials Market
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 24, 2014...LEDs are quickly replacing older, less durable and energy-efficient lighting technologies worldwide. Market research company, Frost & Sullivan says that because chemicals and materials are required at all stages of the LED fixture's manufacturing process, chemical companies will be an important factor in the future success of the LED industry.

Frost & Sullivan predicts that revenue growth in chemicals demand will be ahead of growth in the LED industry itself. The company projects that the LED materials market, which had revenues of $5.01 billion in 2013, will increase to $11.71 billion in 2018. Frost & Sullivan examined applications for chemicals through chip fabrication, packaging, module construction, and fixture assembly.

The company points out that historically, demand for LEDs in applications including display backlighting has driven growth in chemicals demand for LED applications. However, Frost & Sullivan says that this market is now relatively mature, and the company predicts that the demand from the general lighting sector will dominate future growth. According to the company, of the four tiers of the value chain involved in manufacturing LEDs, the greatest need for chemicals will come from the final stage, assembling the fixture.

"While prices of LEDs are falling at all stages of the value chain, price pressure is particularly strong in the packaging stage," noted Frost & Sullivan Performance Materials Industry Principal Brian Balmer. "As a result, chemical companies that offer innovative products enabling cost savings for LED manufacturers will be well-positioned to succeed."

The company indicated that unlike traditional lighting, LED light sources do not have to be designed around a replaceable bulb. For this reason, the company expects that innovative designs and material options will create opportunities that did not exist with previous lighting technologies.

"Chemical companies, therefore, need to partner with fixture manufacturers to help them understand how chemicals and materials can be used to design the LED fixtures of the future," said Balmer.

While, the company says that the packaging tier has some of the greatest requirements for innovation from chemical companies, this tier is reportedly under the greatest pressure to reduce prices

Frost & Sullivan noted in a summary of their recent report, "While some market segments, especially phosphors, have large barriers to entry, others offer opportunities for new entrants to the market." Further, the company says that more an more lighting OEMs are looking to produce their own chemicals in-house to be more competitive.

In the chip stage, CVD precursors have the majority of the material market value. The majority of the package material market value is in phosphors. The largest portion of the module material market is for thermal interface materials. In the fixture stage, plastics for secondary optics are the largest part of the material market.

China Star Optoelectronics Commences Trial Production of AMOLED Panels

July 24, 2014...CSOT has begun trial production of AMOLED panels, according to Digitimes. The company expects to mass produce AMOLED panels for display applications by 2016. The company plans to have a total of 10 overall AMOLED production lines in China that will go into production or have already begun production from 2014-2016. China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) has become the largest supplier of 32-inch AMOLED panels worldwide. The company has also established a joint venture with the government of Wuhan, China, to sell small-to-medium-sized AMOLED panels using the joint venture's 6G LTPS/AMOLED production lines. Digitimes notes that China makers of AMOLED panels continue to receive financial assistance both from the central government in China as well as from many local governments to develop AMOLED panel production facilities. Digitimes Research says that despite government incentives, AMOLED panel makers will face high production costs and low yields causing less competitive pricing compared to TFT LCD technology in the short term.

GE Develops Special Phosphor that Improves Color and Sharpness of LED Backlit Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 24, 2014...GE reported a breakthrough that it said can greatly improve the color and contrast of images displayed on LED devices. Scientists at GE Lighting and GE Global Research have developed a phosphor powder that, when packaged inside an LED, greatly increases the picture quality of LED electronics. GE's patented solution involves adding potassium fluorosilicate (PFS) doped with manganese to add red emission to LEDs. GE claims that the addition of red light makes the LED light sharper, cleaner, and truer than the nitride phosphor resulting in less color bleed and a richer picture.

Anant Setlur, a materials scientist in charge of the the phosphors development at GE Global Research, said, "Backlit displays consist of an array of LEDs fed into a waveguide to filter out red, green, and blue. In most of the devices you see on the market today, the red component in the LED is low quality, causing greens to look yellowish; this negatively impacts the overall picture quality. What we've achieved here allows for more natural color in consumer electronics. The difference in picture quality is stunning."

GE Ventures has licensed the patents for the technology to Sharp and Nichia. Both Sharp and Nichia are manufacturing and packaging LEDs that contain PFS phosphor material for use as LED backlights in LCD display products. Already, several display companies have launched tablets and smartphones containing LED devices supplied from these licensees.

Mike Petracci, General Manager of Licensing, GE Ventures, said, "Sharp and Nichia are world-class leaders in the design and sale of LEDs, and we are pleased to bring this breakthrough to market."

Jacksonville Jaguars to Unveil Largest Ever HD Video Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 22, 2014...On July 26th, 35.5 million LEDs in an enormous HD LED video display will light up EverBank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Florida. During the game, the world's largest HD LED video display will be unveilled. EverBank Field will host a soccer match between Fulham F.C. and D.C. United followed by a concert by country music star Carrie Underwood.

"The Jaguars have done a great job in preparing an exciting unveiling event for the world's largest video displays," Daktronics vice president of live events Jay Parker said. "These displays will set a precedent in professional venues in terms of the fan experience and what can be witnessed by going to the stadium. The team can show a never before seen combination of content with essentially three huge HD screens on one massive LED display. It's going to be amazing when they fire them up to host their first home football game."

The two massive end zone displays featuring a 13HD pixel layout will each measure 60 feet high by 362 feet wide. Each display with more than 21,700 square feet of digital canvas is longer than a football field and can feature three full-size HD windows for maximum versatility during any event. Three sections of 60 feet high by 106 feet wide provide enough real display space and allow an extra 44-foot-wide buffer space for additional graphics, statistics and other content.

The 13HD technology was selected for numerous reasons, especially its high brightness that helps overcome the direct Florida sunlight. The displays boast high contrast and wide viewing angles.

Natick Examines the Effects of Shelter Lighting on Soldier Thinking, Mood
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 22, 2014...Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, are examining the effects of various types of lighting in military shelters on soldiers. The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command that aims to create technology and engineering solutions for American soldiers.

NSRDEC's Cognitive Science Team are investigating the effect of lighting on the ability to perform tasks, visual acuity, mood, or affective state, and cognitive alertness/awareness. The team is comparing traditional fluorescent lighting and newer LED lighting at varying color temperatures ranging from low-color temperatures of yellow and red tinted white light to high-color temperatures of bluish white. Twenty-four volunteers, soldiers between 18 and 31 years of age, participated in the five-day study,

"This study is important because it is the first study that has considered the tradeoff between the differences in cost between the lighting technologies and the impact of the lighting on Soldier mood and performance," Dr. Caroline Mahoney, leader of the Cognitive Science Team, said.

"There is a ton of past research on what lighting can do to humans," Breanne Hawes, lead researcher on the project and member of the cognitive science team said. "It can affect how sleepy you are, your sleeping patterns, or how productive you are. But this has rarely been studied as a military application."

"The ultimate aim of the project is to develop efficient spaces that promote well-being," said Hawes. "We were thinking of Soldiers in tents doing mission planning. This is where they setup their maps and have their meetings in shelters, and we wanted to see how the lighting would affect that especially, among other things."

Dr. Mahoney pointed out that one of the team's goals is to help shape technology and material development. On this study, the Cognitive Science Team collaborated with the Shelters Team and the Special Projects Team.

"This (study) was about helping material/product developers and designers make decisions about the technology," said Hawes. "We were trying to analyze different lighting systems. Currently, all the tents use fluorescent lighting, and (the Shelters Team and the Special Projects Team members) were trying to analyze three LED systems, which are newer lighting technologies. They were analyzing them based on technological differences, such as how long they last and how easy they are to set up. So the goal for our project was to tie in how (the lighting choice) is actually affecting the people sitting under the lighting, how is it affecting the Soldiers."

Mahoney said, "Ultimately, we want to provide information to predict a Soldier's abilities in a given context, keep them safe, and optimize performance."

Compared with fluorescent lighting, the NSRDEC researchers found that LED lighting in a work environment seems to promote a positive mood, increased alertness, and faster performance on cognitive and visual perception tasks. The researchers found that soldiers working in fluorescent lighting tended to be more fatigued, less alert, and more depressed over time. Soldiers under fluorescent lighting also tended to have slower response times on cognitive tasks that measured verbal and spatial memory.

"It's important to consider how we can make things so they can perform their best and help ensure their well-being," Hawes said.

AMOLED Mobile Phone Panel Costs to Fall Below LCD, According to NPD DisplaySearch
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 22, 2014...The difference in price between AMOLED mobile phone panels and TFT-LCD panels is decreasing, according to NPD DisplaySearch. Production yields of AMOLED mobile phone panels have reportedly helped reduce the cost difference. According to the NPD DisplaySearch's OLED Technology Report, the cost of manufacturing AMOLED panels is currently 10 to 20 percent higher than that of TFT-LCD displays.

However, the rapid improvement in AMOLED panel production yields is expected to result in a lower manufacturing costs for AMOLED mobile phone panels than LCD mobile phone panels within the next two years, according to NPD DisplaySearch. The company points out that AMOLED panels were expected to cost less than LCD panels from close to the beginning of their use in smartphone displays because they do not require backlighting. However, production challenges kept AMOLED yields low, increasing production costs. Therefore, equivalent LCDs cost less. AMOLED panels became high-end products, due to their high-color gamut, good contrast, and slimness. Production yield improvements are expected to help broaden the adoption of AMOLED panels into smartphones.

"Until recently, there have been few breakthroughs in the production of AMOLED displays, and the OLED industry seemed to be facing hard times," said Jimmy Kim, senior analyst of display materials and LED at NPD DisplaySearch. "If AMOLED costs fall below LCDs, as expected, it would lead to more opportunities for the OLED display industry, greater competition with LCD, and more choices for consumers."

The company gives the current example of a 16 percent cost difference between 5-inch AMOLED and LCD (1920 1080) mobile phone panels. NPD DisplaySearch contends that AMOLED panel costs are expected to fall below LCD panel costs when AMOLED production yields reach 90 percent. The company notes that if further cost reductions for OLED materials are achieved, then the yield required for AMOLED panels to be cheaper than LCD will be even lower.

Lakewood Church Upgrades Displays with Higher Resolution Daktronics LED Video Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 17, 2014...Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas got two new LED video displays from Daktronics Inc. of Brookings, South Dakota USA. Daktronics designed, manufactured and installed two new LED video displays to replace the existing Daktronics displays with a higher resolution display that features 4-millimeter line spacing in a full black package.

The church uses the displays to show inspirational images and stories during service or reveal IMAG (Image Magnification) shots as well as live video of the sermon and song lyrics that allow the congregation to follow along. The feed shown on the new LED displays is the same video shown on the video displays inside the church.

The display installation continues the nine-year relationship between Lakewood Church and Daktronics. The installation employs the existing structure to support the new displays that measure more than 12-feet high by 22-feet wide that replaces the two previously installed 8-millimeter pitch displays positioned on each side of the main service platform. Installing each display took roughly five days between Dec. 1 and Dec. 13.

"We started tearing down one of the old displays after the final service on Sunday and had the new display installed and operational before the Saturday service at the end of the week," said Nathan McGillivray, Daktronics project manager of the installation. "It was critical for Lakewood to have zero display downtime, so we installed one display the first week and the other display the following week. Services went off without a hitch and with full video display functionality."

"After the displays were installed, the wardrobe and makeup departments had to be notified of everything that was now visible on the new high-definition displays," said Joel Henie, Daktronics sales representative.

Henie said, "A trip to the recent installation at Saddleback Church really helped confirm Lakewood's choice to upgrade with Daktronics."

The upgrade reportedly offers image clarity and contrast that now makes everything much more visible to the audience, from lint on clothing to blotches of makeup and powder.

NEP's Screenworks Launches Largest Mobile LED Screen Trailer in North America
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 15, 2014...NEP's Screenworks of Corona, California announced that it introduced the largest mobile LED screen trailer in North America. The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) will employ the screen trailer at all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. The new screen trailer, called BigMo 4, includes an LED display measuring 19 feet high by 33 feet wide with an additional 4-foot ad banner around the entire perimeter. The display, which is an unprecedented size for a trailer-based device, offers enhanced viewing for the on-site fans and provides an integrated branding opportunity for NHRA and its sponsors.

"Having this new BigMo on site this season has definitely enhanced the live race experience for our fans," said Jim Trace, NHRA's director of broadcasting and video communications. "We want everyone at the track to experience all of the drama of the race up close, and the massive screen on BigMo 4 really works to amplify the action. With the addition of the ad banners, we also have a really unique way of connecting the NHRA brand and our sponsors to the fans while they are engaged, on site and having a great time."

BigMo 4 is part of a family of mobile LED display trailers that NEP Screenworks designed and developed. These BigMos displays feature an enormous LED screen that rises above the trailer's roof and can easily be adjusted and turned to offer the optimal viewing angle. Also, they all supply their own power and have a self-contained, climate-controlled production room. NEP Screenworks designed the BigMos for use in large, open outdoor spaces for a variety of major festivals, sporting events, and large outdoor civic events such as NHRA, NASCAR and IRL races.

"Our fleet of BigMo LED screen trailers provide the perfect solution for clients who need a quick, easy, large display solution to enhance a live event," said Screenworks Director of Racing, Sam Artinger. "BigMo 4 will follow NHRA for the next four seasons, traveling to twenty-four races each year. Because it is an entirely self-contained solution, it can set up in less than two hours, cover the race live, and then easily pack up and drive to the next location."

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