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2014-07-30
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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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Commentary...
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...

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

Everlight Adds High-voltage Packaged LEDs to Portfolio
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 29, 2014...Everlight Electronics has introduced the XI3030HV family of packaged LEDs. The XI3030HV family serves as a high-voltage addition to the company's standard XI3030 line. The company packages both the XI3030HV and the XI3030 line in a 33-mm plastic packages. The product family ranges from mid- and high-power segments to some models that operate in excess of 1W. The company asserts that the new high-voltage LEDs can simplify the design of the LED driver electronics and reduce solid-state lighting (SSL) system costs.

High-voltage LEDs combine multiple emitters/junctions in series or several parallel strings of a number of LEDs in series. Some packaged LEDs connect separate chips that are packaged together with bond wires. Others make the electrical connection to multiple emitters on one monolithic chip that forms separate emitters at the end of the LED manufacturing process.

The higher-voltage input can provide several advantages. The lower difference in line-to-LED voltage reduces the component count in drivers and can increase energy efficiency. Everlight says that its XI high-voltage LEDs deliver efficacy of 120 lm/W at 3000K CCT, very good but not top-level performance at the warm end of the color spectrum. The LEDs have a minimum 80 CRI and a 115-lm maximum flux output.

So far Everlight has just 3000 hours of test data on the brand new products. However, the company said LM-80 testing is in progress. Everlight has begun an initiative that follows a recent trend in LEDs, producing particular packaged LEDs for specific applications in terms of voltage input levels, package features, and optical performance. Everlight calls the initiative "The Right LED for the Right Application." The company said it plans to provide custom versions of the high-voltage arrays at any voltage that customers require.

Seoul Semiconductor Files Patent Infringement Complaints Against Curtis International and Craig Electronics
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 29, 2014...On July 22, 2014 in Florida Southern Court, U.S., Seoul Semiconductor (SSC) filed a LED TV patent infringement lawsuit against Curtis International, a Canadian consumer electronics company, according to numerous legal publications. Seoul Semiconductor filed a separate, but related lawsuit against Craig Electronics Inc.

Both of Seoul Semiconductor's complaints allege that the defendant companies have infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 6,007,209, 6,473,554, 6,942,731, 7,572,653, 7,964,943, 8,314,440. The lawsuit (1:14-cv-22729-CMA) alleges that Curtis International. has been manufacturing and selling TV products infringing the above listed patents in the Florida Southern district. The lawsuit, (1:14-cv-22728-RNS) alleges that Craigs Electronics has been selling and distributing infringing products.

XL Video Provides LED Video Display Wall for Volvo Roadshow
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 29, 2014...The Volvo V40 promotional roadshow is currently being held at some of the UK's largest shopping malls. XL Video has supplied an LED video wall for the roadshow. XL Video worked with marketing agency Arnold KLP and creative production agency DesignScene on the roadshow, which runs through July. The show took place at the Bullring in Birmingham, Metro Centre in Gateshead, Cabot Circus in Bristol and finished up at the Silverburn in Glasgow.

Shoppers could sit inside a Volvo V40 R Design display car, and an array of touch-screen tablets gave an interactive quiz. XL Video's 5m x 3m Barco NX6 LED wall displayed advertisements about the V40 model and Volvo's current "Swedish Adventure" contest.

Jacqueline Rice, XL's Project Manager, collaborated with Attila Keskin of Design Scene to suggest a suitable LED wall for the project. The venues included a combination of both natural daylight and indoor mall lighting. A team of XL's crew, Steven Grinceri, Fabrizio Di Lelio, John Brandon, Tim Bolland, Connor Jennings, Rob Smith, and Marcus Wareham installed and maintained the screen.

Jacqueline Rice commented, "Each venue brought its own challenges, such as being under a glass roof on the hottest day of the year, but by working together solutions were found and the displays gained lots of positive attention from the public."

ProPhotonix Lanches UV COBRA Cure Module
LIGHTimes News Staff

July 29, 2014...ProPhotonix Limited, a UK-based designer and manufacturer of LED illumination systems and laser diode modules, has launched the COBRA™ Cure as a major upgrade to the power and functionality of the company's COBRA Slim Series of Chip-On-Board (COB) LED modules. UV COBRA™ Cure is a compact UV LED module that produces a uniform line up to a peak irradiance of 2 W/cm2. COBRA Cure, like its predecessor, UV COBRA Slim, offers adjustable optics so while in the field, users can choose the optimum lens position for an application. It comes in any length up to 5 meters. Both the COBRA Cure and the COBRA Slim come in a range of wavelengths including 405nm, 395nm, 385nm, and 365nm. Multiple versions are also available in each wavelength. The UV COBRA Cure offers on-board Ethernet control.

Tim Losik, CEO and Chairman of ProPhotonix, said, "We are delighted to launch the Cobra Cure as a new product following successful deployment to a number of lead customers for use in machine vision systems, adhesive curing assembly lines and industrial scale printing applications. Our experienced team of optical, electronic, mechanical and software engineers in combination with our in-house manufacturing capability, worked closely with these customers to deliver the optimum lighting solution for each application."

Losik continued, "Standard and Custom UV LED solutions, in addition to our direct emission 405nm laser diode modules available at various power levels, provide a wide range of alternative UV solutions for our customers."<

Vexica Debuts Remote-phosphor-based LED luminaire for Retail Display and Cove Lighting
SSL Design News Staff

July 29, 2014...UK company, Vexica has introduced a remote-phosphor-based LED Luminaire for cove lighting and retail display lighting. The company produced the system to provide the smooth, radial light that conventional fluorescent tubes and cold cathode lighting offer without the hotspots and multiple shadows created with most LED-based solutions. Designers have attempted to utilized diffusing layers that curb the spotting effect but, the diffusing layers add inefficiency in terms of power consumption and can potentially create lower light outputs and inconsistency of color temperatures from batch to batch.

The company employs "co extruded remote phosphor technology". A cluster of blue LEDS shine on the remote phosphor to produce smooth, even light output with wide radial beams, with additional color consistency and energy efficiency unparallelled by other LED solutions. Vexica tuned the blue LEDs to a tight wavelength that is optimised for phosphor conversion. The company houses the blue LEDs in a robust extruded profile with some unique connections. The luminaire has a low voltage, 24V DC input. Fixing clips connect the blue LEDs to the remote phosphor to produce a 270 degree radial beam output with a dot-free appearance. It can dim to 0% using DALI, 0-10V, or DMX dimming. The device does not require the company to perform binning in addition to what the LED manufacturer already provides.

EPA Issues Letter Outlining Proposed Changes to Clarify Energy Star V1.1 Lamp Requirements
SSL Design News Staff

July 24, 2014...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued another letter outlining proposed changes to the Energy Star Lamps specification. The proposed changes will be used in the transition from V1.0 to V1.1. The EPA also released an excel spreadsheet that calculates center beam candle power (CBCP).

The letter added to lamps that will not be Energy Star listed. The primary reason for the latest exclusion is that the consumer could misconstrue the light distribution and energy efficiency of lamps that look much like omnidirectional A-lamps. For this reason, the EPA will not recognize G18.5 and G19 lamps that do not provide omnidirectional beam distribution.

The EPA also added specific exclusion of lamps with diameters of 41mm to 78mm (which are similar to A-lamps), with the exception of G16.5 and G25-based lamps. The EPA also detailed what was acceptable or not in terms of length to diameter ratio of the lamps. The EPA is seeking more feedback on the added specifications by august 6th. Details including how to comment are available on the Energy Star Lamps website.

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."

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.

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Commentary & Perspective...

LEDs Opening New Doors for the Science of Light
LIGHTimes/SSL Design Staff

July 23, 2014...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 to turn it into semiconductors in the 20th century, but what we're really talking about here is the 'effect' of light on, well, life. One might contend that we know a whole lot about the interaction of light on humans.

We know how different kinds of light can create moods, and we know lots about how we perceive color. We even know a fair amount about why we perceive color, as the three kinds of cone cells in our eyes (S, M and L corresponding to the relative wavelengths they detect) combine to give us the standard observer curves X, Y and Z. If this is new to you, it's kind of fun giving a browse to one of the wiki rundowns here. That overview, and subsequent ones such as the background in the CIE 1931 Color Space (here) can pretty easily conk up your brain, but at least getting familiar with some of the terms will be valuable for anyone at any level in the LED and SSL market space. No really, we promise that it will, because while we know a fair amount, we've really just scratched the surface.

Ok, fair enough. If we make the pronouncement, we should offer a few lines to defend it. There's lots we could throw into the argument, but we'll focus on just two. 1) Prior to the ready availability of the full spectrum of lighting-class LEDs, we really haven't had good control over the light that we create. Ergo, we haven't been able to throw the amount and kind of light we really needed to affordably study its effect on living things. 2) We only recently discovered some obviously key elements of the human light-response mechanisms, such as how light triggers the melatonin response in humans. (Ref here for the 2001 landmark study that attempted to determine how light managed to affect melatonin production, and here for 2008 specifics on the results of testing one wavelength of light).

To the first contention, while our scientific curiosity has always been easy to pique, it's a little trickier to find someone to pay to satisfy that curiosity. And still more of a challenge as the price increases, relative to the potential return on investment (whether societally or commercially). If you have evidence that suggests specialized materials combine more efficiently, and you can test it by putting something in a centrifuge, great. If you need to drop the experiment onto the surface of Jupiter to the real gravitational effect you're after... good luck with that. For light, the general challenge has been that the cost effective light was either white light generated from a glowing thing (filament, candle, sun, ant under the magnifier, whatever) or from an arc and phosphor combination (our friend, the fluorescent). The challenge with white light is that to generate just specific frequencies, you mostly had to take a subtractive approach. Start with white, throw filters in front of it, and use what's left. Need lots of it? Then you need lots of white light, lots of power, and you get lots of spare heat at no extra charge. If you want to light a box which test subjects can stick their head into, you can probably pull it off. But how do you light a test space where people would have longer term exposure to just specific sets of frequencies? Not cheaply is the answer. Fluorescents could offer some hope, presuming you were really good and had the time to invent and test all the custom blends of phosphor you'd need, and then build them into your own lighting systems. Maybe not so hopeful after all. LEDs allow unprecedented opportunities to tune those wavelengths, and then deliver a lot of photons in those wavelengths at a reasonable price.

To the second point, it just strikes us that when our first real confirmation that there is a non-visual pathway for light to affect one aspect of human biology comes in 2001, and that it is just the melatonin system that we figured this out about, there is still a lot of discovery left. An analogy might come from what we're learning about food or plant pharmacology. While we can study the effect of one compound on human physiology, what happens when we let it interact with another. Or another. Or still another. As we add compounds, it gets trickier and trickier to keep track of all the spinning dials, especially to the degree of certainty as to which of the included elements are having the interactive effect. Read any drug disclosure, and you quickly find it says, "While the specific mechanisms are not completely understood, it is generally believed that....".

So why does it matter? Step one in our process of new discoveries with light will be focused on understanding what "natural" light is. Our best baseline guess is that we're tuned to be "in tune" with natural light. Morning - noon - sunset - moon. We don't sleep so well when there is a full moon. Seems our bodies know that it's a full moon, and one guess we've always enjoyed is that we know the things that might be hunting us can see better, so maybe we should spend the night awake hunting them. We know that critters in captivity (inside) can tell what season it is. Gravity doesn't explain it, but it seems reasonable that as the sun changes its angle during the year, or as the duration of the light-dark cycle varies, those subtle changes can be picked up. The folks in the LED lighting industry, and their scientific partners, are working hard to figure out what parts of natural light matter, and why. If we can narrow it down to wavelengths, and interactions among those, we are on the way to step two.

Step two, of course, is messing with the light to make it better. Natural isn't always the best thing for us, sometimes it's just something we put up with. Like mosquitos. 100% natural, but totally evil (or very nearly so). UV light. Handy for some things, but for keeping eyes and skin healthy, there is a pretty compelling case that less is often better. Replicate the great parts of natural light, and trim back the not so great parts. It also goes hand in hand with the fact we don't live naturally. Indoors, for instance. We were meant to dig and hunt and stuff. Outside. At least for part of the day. If you don't buy into that, can we at least grant that we're not really meant to be doing important stuff during the midnight to 5 AM shift? Doctors there to perform surgery is a good thing. Them having to do it while their brains are saying "sleep... it's not a full moon..." is problematic. The solution is understanding what parts of the light matter, and how we can tweak them to help support the physiological needs of the folks that need to be up and around when we should all be asleep. Or take the case of the sick or injured. The natural course, was, naturally, dying. We've made some pretty impressive strides in fixing that, but how do we know that light isn't just helpful, but is actually critical to recovery. Lots of great studies are underway to figure that out, and as we can control the lighting on a coming epic scale, testing the theories will become easier and easier.

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