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2014-08-28
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Editorial: The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...
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Commentary...
The Light We Do, and Don't, Want

 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...

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

SemiLEDs Debuts New Chip Scale ReadyMount™ EC LED Series
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 27, 2014...SemiLEDs Corporation has made available its latest line of white chip scale packages, the ReadyMount™ Enhanced CSP, or EC series. The EC series combines the company’s Enhanced Flip chip (EF) approach with its ReadyWhite™ phosphor technology. SemiLEDs boasts that the EC series offers unprecedented reliability, manufacturability, and flexibility in a single 1.4 x 1.4mm low-profile packaged LED chip. The EC LED series, an SMD component, is rated for input power of up to 3W and is ready for surface mounting on any board level module or COB application. According to the company, this flexibility in mounting on board level modules or COB applications lowers capital costs and enables very high lumen density designs.

Mark Tuttle, general manager for SemiLEDs Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., commented, “Our unique Chip Scale Package (CSP) brings all the benefits of SemiLEDs’ rugged EF Series FlipChip architecture to an extremely compact emitter, which is simple to integrate using standard tape and reel surface mount manufacturing. This innovation reduces final component cost up to 50%, with a packaging cost reduction of up to 80% over conventional packaging. EC Series products, such as the EC-W1414, enable system-integrators and luminaire manufacturers a direct path to a highly cost effective solution on a per-lumen basis now, with additional viewing angles and die sizes under development.”

While useful for compact multi-die white LED packages, SemiLEDs says that its ReadyMount products are particularly useful for light-engine and luminaire manufacturers who previously relied exclusively upon packaged die solutions. The EC Series incorporates the EF FlipChip design in which the electrical contacts are positioned on the bottom of the chip. The bottom positioning leaves an emitting surface that is uninterrupted by top-side electrodes or wire bonds. The compact chip-scale package measures just 0.4mm high. At 1A, it can produce outputs of up to 300 lumens. The SemiLEDs EC series comes in standard ReadyWhite™ correlated color temperatures from 2700K to 10,000K with color rendering indices up to 90 minimum. The elimination of the wire allows nearly edge-to-edge emitting chip surface. Therefore, die can be mounted very close together.

The company says that the glass top surface is also very mechanically robust, unlike flip chips or wire-bond with a silicone covering. According to SemiLeds, the ReadyWhite technology enables the typical 145-degree field of view to provide good color-over-angle characteristics. The SemiLEDs EC series is ideal for architectural, indoor, and outdoor lighting, as well as torches/flashlights. The company notes that the LED series’ rugged architecture and compact size are also well suited for LCD backlighting and mobile device flashes. SemiLEDs’ EC series of LED chips is RoHS compliant with production quantities now available.

Cree and Lextar Electronics Announce Investment, Supply, and Licensing Agreement
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 27, 2014...Durham, North Carolina- based Cree, Inc. has reportedly agreed to invest in Lextar Electronics Corporation and supply Lextar with sapphire-based LED chips. Under the terms of the agreement, Cree will invest about $83 million to purchase 83 million Lextar shares at NT$30 per share. Lextar and Cree are also entering into a long-term LED chip supply agreement and a royalty-bearing license agreement for certain Cree LED chip and component intellectual property. Upon the closing of the investment, Cree will own about 13% of Lextar.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the investment, supply and licensing agreement scheduled to close in Cree’s second quarter of fiscal year 2015, pending the approval of Lextar’s shareholders and the Taiwan Investment Committee, and other customary closing conditions.

Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO said, “Working with Lextar to supply high-quality, mid-power LED chips enables Cree to focus its resources on the high-performance, high-power LED chips that differentiate Cree LEDs in the market. This approach provides the operational and financial flexibility to help Cree achieve the best return on our people and invested capital.”

“Lextar has established a strong technology position and customer base in the mid-power backlighting LED segment, while Cree has had outstanding performance in the high-power LED component and lighting markets,” said Dr. David Su, Chairman and CEO of Lextar. “The cross license of LED chip and component intellectual property will afford both Cree and Lextar the benefits from our product and technology development, thereby strengthening our mutual competitiveness in the global LED industry.”

Ammono Creates More Economical p-type Bulk GaN
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 27, 2014...Ammono S.A., a producer of bulk gallium nitride (GaN) using ammonothermal technology based in Warsaw, Poland, has added p-type bulk AMMONO-GaN substrates to its portfolio. The company points out that providing electronics majority charge carriers (n-type) though dedicated donor doping can increase GaN conductivity. However, Ammono says that successful and efficient p-type doping of GaN was always difficult technologically because typically acceptors required high activation energy. Previously, epitaxial methods or ion implementation could only obtain thin layers of p-type GaN. The ammonothermal process incorporates the acceptor during the growth, resulting in a greater hole concentration and p-type conductivity, without creating structural defects.

The dislocation density in p-type AMMONO-GaN remains the same as that of n-type AMMONO-GaN substrates, being below 5×104 cm-2. Carrier (free hole) concentration in this material is at the level of 1016 cm-3 while electrical resistivity is 10-100 Ω*cm. According to Ammono, these new p-type GaN substrates should enable the construction of novel devices. The introduction of such a new substrate offers new potential for device architectures. The company expects that LEDs, laser diodes, high-frequency transistors, and high power transistors and high-frequency transistors may gain many performance benefits using the new material.

Dr. Marcin Zajac will present details about the new material during the International Workshop on Nitride Semiconductors (IWN2014) in Wroclaw, Poland on August 25th (Growth 1 session at 15:45).

IKEA GreenTech Invests in Scottish Company that Makes Light Tiles
SSL Design News Staff

August 28, 2014...IKEA GreenTech, an IKEA Group venture capital company, reported that it has invested in Design LED Products Ltd, a Scottish company that has developed unique, energy efficient “light tiles” . The thin and flexible light tiles are LEDs embedded into clear resins and films. Design LED Products boasts that the light tiles are low cost and can be seamlessly joined into exciting new designs.

The investment will support the IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy, People & Planet Positive, which aims to enable customers to save energy and live more sustainably.

“This technology opens up fantastic possibilities for innovative designs using energy efficient LEDs. The partnership is a clear strategic fit for IKEA and our goal to make living sustainably affordable and attractive for millions of people,” said Christian Ehrenborg, Managing Director, IKEA GreenTech AB

IKEA plans to switch its entire lighting range to LED technology by September 2015. The investment will enable Design LED to expand its business and to increase its offer of products that can be used in lighting designs for the home.

“This strategic investment allows Design LED to significantly accelerate plans to deliver highly differentiated products to an international market desperate to conserve energy, and hungry for exciting new form factors in LED lighting,” said Stuart Bain, CEO, Design LED Products Ltd

Existing Design LED Products shareholders also invested alongside IKEA GreenTech, including most significantly Scottish Enterprise, via its investment arm the Scottish Investment Bank. A number of Scottish “business angel” investment groups also participated in this investment round, including Strathtay Ventures, Tricap Ventures, and Highland Ventures.

LED Engin Debuts Multi-die IR Emitters
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 26, 2014...LED Engin, Inc. of San Jose, California USA, announced four new families of dual-junction infrared (IR) emitters. The new families of IR emitters include the first 4-die IR emitters. The company claims that the 4-die LZ4 are the world's most powerful IR emitters, providing 6X the flux density of conventional emitters. LED Engin says that the LZ4 offers six times the range and resolution of surveillance and security systems of conventional IR emitters.

The company contends that its single-die IR emitter provide 70% more output than conventional single junction IR emitters. Each die in both product families has two serially-connected junctions, boosting output with two radiant surfaces. A continuous 5A pulse drive enables a short output burst for even greater range. The emitters are designed for IR systems operating at up to 150m.

At 1A drive current, the LZ4 and LZ1 emitters come in 940nm and 850nm versions and produce 4.5W flux and 1.15W output respectively. The packages are tiny: 7 x 7mm for the LZ4 and 4.4 x 4.4mm for the LZ1. According to the company, the small footprint of the two emitters enables the design of very small, discrete fixtures.

The emitters have thermal resistance 50% to 75% lower than competing parts: 2.8°C/W for four-die products and 6.0°C/W for single-die. A proprietary CTE matched and multi-layer ceramic substrate allows the use of smaller heat sinks for more compact fixtures.

The company says that the emitters’ integrated glass primary lenses are far more robust than molded silicone types and do not degrade over time. A suite of complementary total internal reflection (TIR) lenses, in beam angles from 8 to 40 degrees enables fixtures with narrow, longer-distance or wider, shorter-distance beams.

LED Engin says that the optimized thermal and optical performance of the packaged materials ensures consistent and reliable operation throughout the emitters' lifetimes, particularly in outdoor environments with high humidity and high ambient temperatures.

"Equipment manufacturers in established markets such as surveillance, transportation and machine vision, and newer businesses in biometrics and gesture recognition, are all looking for ways to differentiate their products through improved performance, smaller size and lower energy consumption. Our new emitters satisfy these requirements uniquely," said Uwe Thomas, VP of product management.

The IR Dual Junction emitters are available now from LED Engin and its distributors.

Excelitas Adds Adapter and Controller to OmniCure UV LED Curing Tools
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 26, 2014...Excelitas Technologies Corp. of Mississauga, Canada, announced the expansion of the OmniCure AC Series UV LED curing solutions. The company added the new PLC2000 Controller and AC Optical Adapter to complement the OmniCure AC Series of high power UV LED systems.

When connected to an OmniCure AC Series UV LED head, the OmniCure PLC2000 multipurpose external controller device helps intelligently control, monitor, and manage the curing solution to ensure a repeatable UV process. The PLC2000 can dynamically adjust the output intensity, exposure time, and on/off capabilities. At the same time, it can offer system information and error monitoring features.

The PLC2000 also supports RS232 and RS485 communications allowing multiple UV LED heads to be connected, accessed, or controlled through a single computer terminal.

The new OmniCure AC Optical Adaptor can convert a high irradiance focused exposure area into a larger area while maintaining exceptional illumination uniformity. The optical adaptor is designed for use with the OmniCure AC4 and AC7 Series UV LED systems. The AC Optical Adaptor creates evenly distributed irradiance across output areas of 100mm x 100mm, 100mm x 150mm, 70mm x 70mm and other custom sizes that are available upon request.

Mike Kay, director of product management, Industrial Curing at Excelitas Technologies. "The PLC2000 and AC Optical Adaptor are product accessories designed specifically for the OmniCure AC Series UV LED curing systems to offer enhanced capabilities for maximum flexibility and control of their UV process."

The OmniCure product family of UV curing solutions will be showcased at The Assembly Show in Rosemount, IL at the Excelitas booth #1424 from October 29-30, 2014 and at MD&M MN, Minneapolis, MN at booth #641 from October 29-30, 2014.

Elation EZ4 LED Display and Elation LED Luminaires Installed at Qzone in Quil Ceda Creek Casino
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 26, 2014...Quil Ceda Creek Casino, located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation north of Seattle, installed an Elation Professional EZ4 LED video screen in addition to Elation Platinum Spot LED II moving heads and EPAR Series LED fixtures. Opened in April 2014, Qzone functions as a music venue, sports bar, and café and even holds corporate meetings occasionally. The space, which originally started as a nightclub before its convertion to a gaming room and now Qzone, is located just off the main Quil Ceda Creek Casino gaming floor. The client wanted to offer customers different options and events in order to draw them onto the property.

Agility was called in to design, build and install the lighting and video package six months prior to opening. Agility initially planned on a 6 mm pixel pitch panel for the centerpiece LED video screen. “Venues of this type are relying more and more on LED walls,” said Agility’s Rob Johnson, account manager on the project. “Because the LED screen in Qzone was to be the centerpiece of the room and be used for a variety of purposes, we were a bit concerned about the pixel pitch. We took a trip to the Elation headquarters in L.A. where we had the chance to compare the 6 mm screen with the 4 mm and came away convinced the 4 mm EZ4 was the best choice for this install.”

Elation's 8 ft. x 12 ft. EZ4 LED screen was installed directly behind a 20 ft. wide by 13 ft. deep stage served as the primary presentation platform and hosts live music and assorted acts. The LED screen is hard to miss from the venue’s entrances. “It’s the focal point of the room and looks great when you enter. It even looks good when you’re close to it at the front of the stage,” Rob stated. Rob cites the EZ4’s easy assembly, price point, and versatility as factors in its choice. “The old club had a projector and screen but you can’t use that type of technology when you have a performer or speaker on stage. The EZ4 is a real multipurpose screen for a multipurpose room and gives the venue a lot of options.”

The EZ4 is the company's highest resolution LED panel. It offers high density of 10,816 pixels (104 x 104) per panel for sharp and clear picture with vivid colors. The EZ4 screen can serve as a visual jukebox to play music videos or simply to watch TV. It also acts like a big computer screen for corporate meetings and presentations.

Guests to Qzone can get up close and personal to their favorite sports teams with the display’s superior image quality and 1,200 Nits of brightness. The display also serves as the the high quality visual backdrop for bands and performers who need to run video and graphics. Elation Media Master Express media server manages and plays back video and graphics for performances and events.

Rob specified LED lighting for its many benefits including power savings. The Qzone lighting system includes Elation 135W Platinum Spot LED II color and pattern changing moving heads and the EPAR Tri LED lights, which are both mounted on a Global Truss system hanging over the dance floor and stage. Rob chose the Platinum Spot LED II’s positioned on finger trusses over the dance floor, for their compact size and attractive price. Their compact size fit in well with the room and its short trim heights. “They actually make the room look bigger and taller,” he said.

EPAR Tri RGB LED lights used for band washes provide color wash from 20 ft. upstage and downstage trusses. The EPAR QA fixtures with their added amber LED for extended color range and effective color temperature control, highlight speakers on stage. Qzone hosts bands, DJs, comedy acts and other events and performances that test the reliability and versatility of EZ4 LED screen and the LED lighting daily. Rob reports that since its installation earlier in the year, the system has held up very well.

LG Electronics Offers Interactive Fan Experiences At 2014 US Open
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 26, 2014...At the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, LG Electronics USA created a wide variety of interactive fan experiences. The championships start this week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens. LG serves as the Official Mobile Device Partner and Official Electronics Partner of the 2014 US Open, which runs through Sept 8.

Fans will be able to engage in tennis-themed activities through the new LG G3 smartphone at the LG Winner's Circle, tennis. LG's OLED TVs and the LG Ultra HD 4K TVs with four times the resolution of Full HD will provide interactive content with LG's Smart TV+ webOS™ platform, an intuitive user interface for streaming content and apps.

In the 1,300 square foot LG Winner's Circle located at the NTC:

Fans can compete against one another to answer US Open-themed trivia questions in the "LG webOS Challenge," LG's new webOS-enabled smart TVs and the LG Magic Remote.

The "LG OLED Challenge" will allow spectators to review "on court" shots on LG's OLED TVs to determine if a shot is in or out by more than the 4mm thickness of the LG OLED screen,

At the "Swing in 4K" station, fans can watch their tennis swings live on LG's new 84-inch class (83.8 inches measured diagonally) Ultra HD TV.

The "LG G3 Selfie Station," allows fans to pose after a winning shot and have their selfies taken using the LG G3 smartphone's Gesture Shutter feature.

The official 2014 US Open App, available on Aug. 25 via the Google Play Store, allows users to join the US Open Live Prediction Challenge, presented by LG G3. For the challenge, fans can predict what might happen next to earn points toward LG prizes. LG mobile device users earn extra points and enjoy exclusive access to the LG Leaderboard.

"LG's innovative products help fans create fun, memorable experiences," said David VanderWaal, head of marketing for LG Electronics USA. "We're honored to bring fans those experiences, whether it's onsite at the US Open in New York, at home, or on-the-go through the amazing picture quality of our OLED and Ultra HD TVs and our smartphones."

Lew Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer of the USTA said, "LG's gallery activation will enhance the fan experience on-site and the new predictive game presented by the LG G3 smartphone on the US Open mobile app gives fans a new and innovative way to connect with the Open."

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Commentary & Perspective...

The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
Commentary Staff

August 14, 2014...In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of light we don't want. While few probably fell off their chair on that revelation, we all tend to have so much legacy lighting around us that we tend not to reflect too much on what we're missing, much less on what we're getting that we really shouldn't be.

One of the first stops on the tour was into The Caverns at Natural Bridges, in the mountains of Virginia. Lots of natural wonder to be found in a mostly horizontal cave that heads into a mountain, which therefore gets deeper and deeper "underground" as you head in. That means more opportunity for water to pick up minerals on its way down, and when they hit the roof or floor of the empty space, they give the minerals back. That water also carries clay with in this particular cavern, so you get pretty impressive "mudstones" that can be scrubbed white for a day or two (also right there on their website). And you get green stuff -- algae in this case, that made it down there on some air currents, and grows courtesy of the moisture and the artificial light. Nice, broad spectrum incandescent, to enhance our viewing pleasure, is prevalent, and with close to 8 hours a day on time, it's plenty to grow. It's the light we don't want. The guide pointed out where they had begun to changeover to LED lighting, that would "supposedly" help with that. The company apparently specializes in that kind of thing. Don't know who it is yet, but hopefully they'll let us know their formula, which we'd expect to be removing some spectra that algae like, and which the viewers won't necessarily miss.

The next stop was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. A look at the high ceiling revealed some nice looking area lights that fit the model of Beta (now Cree's) original Edge product line. The optics were well done, and weren't obnoxious to look toward. With good color rendering, it made it the kind of light we do want. Unfortunately, the LED lighting doesn't appear to have gained overwhelming traction in that facility, as a number of displays protected from curious fingers behind a protective glass barrier required the traditional "bob and weave" to see it all against the glare in the glass. The original Wright flyer (the, the original... very cool) was illuminated by a beachy sort of Kitty Hawk sand dune kind of towards sunset yellow. Quite emotionally stirring, and very deficit of helpful wavelengths when it comes to visual acuity. LED lighting shouldn't be challenged to provide a cure for that - ambiance plus fidelity, all for just a few pennies per lumen. Even better would have been a bit more experiential display, with the light giving us the full sunrise-midday-sunset playback of a typical day over the course of 10 minutes, along with a background soundtrack of seabreeze, sputtering engines and enthusiastic hollering (I'd recommend they check out Telelumen's solution for the realistic light playback -- Yo, Smithsonian. Tell Steve Paolini we said "Hi").

At the Smithsonian Art and Portrait gallery, CMH and halogen were the watchwords. One of the few artifacts in the extensive gallery was a civil war sword. The sign read (paraphrase), "This is a replica. The original is carefully stored away to prevent it from being damaged by light." There's a thrill! A genuine, real live, carefully detailed replica. We could have gotten that in the wax museum in Gatlinburg, TN (lots of LED lights in that town... sort of Orlando in the mountains). In a room only lit by artificial light, should we really need to protect a treasure from the damage that light can cause? Maybe we can put in the kind of light we want, and get rid of the kind we don't.

The good news here is the LED lighting is in its infancy when it comes to what we know, or don't know, about light. As we've said many times before, incumbent technologies didn't offer a particularly cost-effective solution set to test each and every wavelength. LEDs open that door, and with that, our knowledge. We've mentioned it a lot, but it's only because we don't want anyone to miss it: This whole thing is about what our light can do for us, and very quickly, it will also be about what our light has been doing too us. Up til now, anyone has been able to claim, "That's all we had." No one was suing their employers for using kerosene lamps, since the choice then was those, or darkness. When Edison heated that wire, we quickly had good, healthy (enough) light. Then came the longevity and efficiency of fluorescent which quickly devolved to devising the bare minimum of phosphor spikes to fool our eyes into thinking it looked ok, but do we really know what we were missing? Soon enough, we'll know what the lack of, or extra of, in terms of photons were or weren't doing for us. Then there will be published papers that get cited in the lawsuits for decades of bad lighting causing many of the ails of society. And the justifiable defense will be "We didn't know." All will be forgiven, with the out of court settlement being total conversion to "natural" LED lighting (with none of the bad additives).

This will be way better than that incandescent bulb ban. We promise.

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