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2014-09-30
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Editorial: The Next Big Push for LED Lighting -- Ease of Use
 
... Granted, a light has historically been as simple as 'on' and 'off'. Fancy ones had 'dim'. If you're a luminaire manufacture that has been technologically stumped by the last one, it's a fair bet the rest of what's coming is going to be a bit confusing. Fortunately, the other...
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Commentary...
The Next Big Push for LED Lighting -- Ease of Use

 
... Granted, a light has historically been as simple as 'on' and 'off'. Fancy ones had 'dim'. If you're a luminaire manufacture that has been technologically stumped by the last one, it's a fair bet the rest of what's coming is going to be a bit confusing. Fortunately, the other...

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

Epistar Qualifies Veeco EPIK700 MOCVD System for High-volume LED Production
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 30, 2014...Veeco Instruments Inc. based in Plainview, New York USA, reported that Epistar Corporation has successfully evaluated and accepted the new TurboDisc® EPIK700™ Gallium Nitride (GaN) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) system for LED production.

“As the leader in LED technology and commercialization, it is vital that we continue to push our roadmap to reduce solid state lighting costs with the most innovative and efficient production solutions available,” said Dr. MJ Jou, president, Epistar Corporation. “EPIK’s performance, reliability and production readiness, as well as the support we received from Veeco during the beta testing phase, fully met our high manufacturing standards. The seamless recipe transfer from our installed base of Veeco K465i™ and MaxBright® systems to the EPIK700 is allowing us to quickly produce production-quality LED devices. In addition, the EPIK700’s cost of ownership advantage will help reduce our cost per wafer, making it a highly attractive platform for our future capacity expansions.”

Veeco claims that its newly launched EPIK700 MOCVD system, which is based on its TurboDisc technology, enables customers to achieve a cost per wafer savings of up to 20 percent compared to previous MOCVD systems through increased productivity, reduced operating expenses, and improved wafer uniformity.

AgiLight and Vink Lighting Solutions Sign European Distribution Agreement
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 30, 2014...AgiLight, Inc., a producer of LED sign lighting solutions based in San Antonio, Texas has signed a distribution agreement with Vink Lighting Solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, Vink will represent AgiLight’s complete lines of PRO Series, SignRayz®, BoxRayz® sign lighting products and LED Power Supplies.

“By adding AgiLight’s product offering, Vink is able to bring technically superior and high quality LED sign lighting products, at a better value, to our European customer base,” said David Foreman, General Manager of Vink Lighting Solutions, “This allows us to provide our customers with a wider choice and, at the same time, grow our total product offering enabling us to satisfy the fast growing LED sign lighting demand across Europe.”

AgiLight is an established sign lighting brand in both the United States and the Middle East. AgiLight's new SignRayz® PRO Series with advanced optics technology, produces batwing beam patterns and offers increased brightness resulting in a 50 percent in the number of modules per sign. According to AgiLight, the SignRayz provides the lowest LED system cost and lowest energy consumption on the market.

The company say its BoxyRayz® LED system offers a high-efficiency and cost-effective replacement for fluorescent lamps. The system with a constant current power supply and high power LEDs boasts 25% higher efficiency than conventional systems. BoxyRayz provides 400 lumens per module at 92 lumens per watt. AgiLight contends that BoxRayz's® plug-and-play interconnection simplifies the installation and reduces labor cost for sign makers and end-users.

The SignRayz® Series provides white and colored LED backlighting for signage. The SignRayz® LED modules feature three light output levels and three viewing angles to illuminate signs of all configurations, channel letters to box signs with deep to shallow design. The company says that the robust, long lasting, and efficient SignRayz® LED modules deliver bright and cost-effective illumination for both large and small projects.

AgiLight produces Class 1 and Class 2 LED power supplies for signage and other outdoor applications. They feature a wide input voltage range 100-277V AC with active power factor correction. The power supplies have multiple protection functions for wide operating temperatures of between -40°C to +60°C.

“AgiLight has the product breadth, value proposition and technological leadership to be a major LED lighting player in the European market. We recently announced our entry into the European market, and today’s agreement with Vink Lighting Solutions positions the trusted AgiLight brand for success.,” said Steven Moya, president and CEO of General LED Inc., AgiLight’s parent company.

Boost Controller from Diodes Incorporated Simplifies LED Backlighting for Monitors and TVs
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 30, 2014...Diodes Incorporated of Plano, Texas, introduced the AL3022 boost controller. The AL3022 constant-frequency, voltage-mode, external-compensation boost controller is well-suited for monitor and TV who require a cost-effective solution for driving LED backlights. The highly integrated device in the small footprint SO-8 package significantly reduces the number of external components required for system design, according to the company.

The controller, which operates at a fixed switching frequency of 140kHz, handles up to 60W output power and is suitable for a wide range of 14-inch to 42-inch LCD panel designs. A 200 mV voltage reference helps minimize losses, thereby increasing system efficiency in many cases.

The AL3022 delivers accurate line and load regulation and supports both PWM and analog LED string dimming control methods. Applying an external control signal of at least 100Hz initiates PWM dimming. A DC signal ranging from 0.8V to 2.4V triggers an analog dimming.

The controller offers a complete suite of integrated protection features to improve overall system reliability including over-current and over-temperature protection circuits, under-voltage lockout, over-voltage, as well as protection against output-to-ground short circuits.

Saint Joseph's University Enhances Arena with Daktronics Video Display System
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 30, 2014...Saint Joseph’s University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will be getting a new LED centerhung video display from Daktronics of Brookings, South Dakota. The University will see these updates this fall.

SJU director of athletics Don DiJulia said, "This board, with its live video, stats and sponsor information, will greatly enhance Hagan Arena, which was recently named one of the top three venues in the Atlantic 10."

The centerhung display system will feature four individual video displays. Each display will measure about 7-feet-high by 12.5-feet-wide and will feature 6-millimeter line spacing. These displays will brighten the arena and highlight live video and instant replays. The full-motion video displays can show scoring information, up-to-the-minute statistics, vivid graphics, colorful animations, and sponsor advertisements. The displays with wide-angle visibility will incorporate excellent image clarity and contrast, according to Daktronics.

"Daktronics is thrilled to have worked with Saint Joseph's University to update the video equipment in Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena," said Scott Willson, Daktronics sales representative. "The new centerhung will bring excitement to fans and really add to the overall game-day feel at the arena."

Plessey Adds LED Assembly Line to Plymouth, UK Facility
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 25, 2014...Plessey announced plans to add an LED assembly line to its Plymouth, UK facility. Plessy asserts that the assembly line will enable it to focus on its high brightness LED growth plans based upon Plessey’s solid-state lighting and sensing business.

The company plans to use assembly line facility as an innovation center for developing next generation LED packages and help the company take new products from concept to production in less time. The custom assembly line utilizes a laser saw process and ends with an automatic test for PLCC (Plastic, Leadless Chip Carrier) packages. The line includes die attach, singulation, encapsulation, phosphor mixing and wire bonding. It also includes all the other standard, supporting equipment and processes. Plessey designed the production line specifically around speed and flexibility to provide customers with engineering samples for evaluation and pilot builds before starting full production.

Mike Snaith, Plessey's operations director stated, "The industrialization of GaN-on-Silicon LED technology does not end at producing wafers - it also requires as much attention to the back-end processing to ensure that all the benefits we make at wafer level are fully realized in the final product. This is the best way to provide customers with the LED products they need."

Plessey's Plymouth facility has already built working samples of complete in-house filament prototypes for the new market of LED filament replacement bulbs. The filament prototypes use a dedicated die and assembly, which the company designs and manufacture within the facility.

Plessey's MaGIC™ (Manufactured on GaN-on-Si I/C) High Brightness LED (HBLED) technology reportedly allows the uses of standard silicon manufacturing techniques to cut the cost of LED lighting. The company plans to establish new LED packaging standards to match the benefits made at wafer level.

Plessey's products for lighting applications will be showcased at LuxLive, ExCel London, 19-20 November, Stand D31.

Princeton Researchers Develop Nanotech Method of Increasing Brightness and Efficiency of LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 25, 2014...Princeton Researchers have developed a novel method to increase the brightness, efficiency, and clarity of LEDs. Electrical engineering professor Stephen Chou led the team of researchers that improved the efficiency and brightness of LEDs made on organic (flexible carbon-based) sheets.

Using a novel nanoscale structure, the researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Stephen Chou, increased the brightness and efficiency of LEDs by 57 percent. The researchers assert that their method should yield similar improvements in LEDs made in inorganic (silicon-based) materials.

According to the researchers, the method improves the picture clarity of LED displays by 400 percent, compared the clarity of LED displays with conventional LEDs. The researchers describe how they manipulated light on a smaller scale than a single wavelength in an article published online August 19 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The researchers point out one drawback of LEDs that only a small amount of light generated inside an LED escapes. Chou realized that a device that could absorb light outside well could also be good at radiating light generated internally. Therefore it could offer an efficient solution for both light extraction and the reduction of light reflection.

"From a view point of physics, a good light absorber, which we had for the solar cells, should also be a good light radiator," he said. "We wanted to experimentally demonstrate this is true in visible light range, and then use it to solve the key challenges in LEDs and displays."

The PlaCSH structure consists of a layer of light-emitting material about 100 nanometers thick that is placed inside a cavity with one surface made of a thin metal film. The other cavity surface is made of a metal mesh with incredibly small dimensions: it is 15 nanometers thick; and each wire is about 20 nanometers in width and 200 nanometers apart from center to center. (a nanometer is one hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair.)

The PlaCSH structure guides the light out of the LED. The system also can replace the traditional brittle transparent electrode, with something more flexible than most current displays.

San’an Optoelectronics Places Large Order for Aixtron MOCVD Systems
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 25, 2014...Aixtron reports that San’an Optoelectronics has ordered 50 of its Next Generation Showerhead® MOCVD systems. The order is reportedly one of the largest that Aixtron has ever received. Aixtron says that San’an order is part of growing evidence that LED makers are starting to expand production capacity. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled for Q4/2014. An Aixtron service team will install all systems at San’an’s Chinese production facility. San’an reportedly plans to use the systems to expand the company’s capacity for producing gallium-nitride (GaN)-based ultra-high brightness LED chips.

University of Michigan Researchers Improve Blue PHOLED Lifetime 10X
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 25, 2014...University of Michigan researchers in the university’s Optoelectronic Components and Materials Group have reportedly created a 10-fold increase in the lifetime of blue PHOLEDs (which currently only last a few hundred hours. The researchers found that triplet polaron annihilation (TPA) causes the rapid degradation in blue OLED brightness (lifetime). They found that if they graded the emitter concentration in the host, the exciton formation zone is extended. So, the exciton density is decreased

They also “tuned the emissive layer energetics so that both the host and the emissive dopant participate in charge transport.” Both of these measures decreased TPA and enabled the blue OLED to remain brighter longer.

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Commentary & Perspective...

The Next Big Push for LED Lighting -- Ease of Use
Commentary Staff

September 29, 2014...Granted, a light has historically been as simple as 'on' and 'off'. Fancy ones had 'dim'. If you're a luminaire manufacture that has been technologically stumped by the last one, it's a fair bet the rest of what's coming is going to be a bit confusing. Fortunately, the other 99% of the industry will get. (Please, Lord, let it be 99%... although if it's lower, that could explain a lot). So far, LED lighting really hasn't extended the frontiers much beyond 'dim' in terms of functionality, but if you keep sailing towards the horizon, eventually you'll actually get there, and LED lighting promises so much more, it's about to get complicated. When it comes to Ease of Use, we naturally need to address that in terms of the user, but also from the component side looking towards the luminaire manufacturers (and yes, even towards the 1%).

The User Experience

Credit is still due Philips for jumping right to that first horizon with the Hue product family. On, off, dim, hue (get it?), networked and apps. Our set here at HQ is still chugging along, happy as a clam. One update introduced a bit of a delay glitch (choose a scene, nothing, choose another, nothing... then scene 1 and then scene 2). A little whining to the right person at a Strategies in Light, and shortly thereafter an update showed up, and all was happy again. (We'll pretend we can take full credit). The beauty of the Hue implementation, and the initial partnering with the Apple stores, was that it had to be Apple-like, and simply make sense in how it ran. We can discipline ourselves, or have someone else do it for us. Either way, we're disciplined and the result should be good.

The next horizon will unleash a whole new set of variables that will prove very interesting. Sensors, as one component, will be watching the space and allowing the luminaires and bulbs to make decisions about what to do. Who is that? What do they typically do with the light? What other systems within the home network or across the building management system do they interact with? What other environmental factors affect what the user wants? (Sound a little like Nest's learning thermostat?). Switches? Who needs switches. Shouldn't I be able to wave my hand in some sensible fashion, or even talk to the lights to tell them what I want? (Hand waving... Nest smoke alarm... think maybe Google was on to something when they bought them up?). If you can talk to your phone, and have it answer, "I live to serve," when you say thank you, is talking to your lights so very far fetched? Apps on the smartphone will be the obvious first step, but direct 'interfacing' will not be far behind. We want our lives to be simple, so we expect our technology to do complex things for us so we can move on from the mundane stuff to the deeply impactful stuff (like TV and video games!). The user experience will need to work. Correctly. No customer integration required.

The Luminaire Manufacturer Experience

For an industry that has been spent the last 100+ years bending pretty metal into interesting shapes, inserting some sockets, connecting a matching ballast and working out some nice optics (credit where credit is due), the concept of simply networking the luminaires has been expectedly slow in coming. The heavy lifting in the fluorescent (and CMH) worlds really fell more to the ballast folks, since they were really the only ones that had any useful data or control (brighter/dimmer, more/less energy consumed). And it really doesn't appear many of them really cared to get up from the couch to lift anything, much less something heavy. Dimming ballasts had remained both relatively rare, and pricey, well past the point that 'everyone' would have seemed to want them if they were priced right. With the advent of SSL, we all ran out of excuses not to employ dimmable, communicative lighting, at least into the commercial space. The challenge, of course, is that no one was doing much of that kind of thing, so it's a rather new frontier. Building a system that needed electrical engineers (like, with microprocessors and stuff) is old hat to the toy or car industries, but still pretty darn new to most all of the luminaire folks. New lighting entrants, such as Cree, came in equipped with the needed EE's, the answer for the Philips, Cooper, Acuity and GE folks was "staff up with smart folks", or buy someone who already had them. But plenty of the Tier II and Tier III folks that make up the other 60% of the market are looking for easy to use solutions, not staff.

While plenty of manufacturers did add the requisite EE in order to save a few bucks by directly buying LEDs instead of a module or light engine, things are about to get a lot trickier when the design spec includes things like mesh networking, Kelvin-tuning, daylight compensation and connectivity to IoT sensor hubs. A haves vs. have nots sort of tech war is coming, and whenever that kind of dynamic shapes up, solution's providers emerge. Keep an eye on the folks that provide modules and light engines, backed by the semiconductor makers, to begin to step up and stand in the gap to add a manufacturer user-experience. A new world of connected, intelligent and dynamic lighting cometh...

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