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MONDO ARC

Review of the LED year

issue 46 Dec / Jan 2008/9


UK Government LED tsar, Dr. Geoff Archenhold, confesses to being a little off the mark for last year’s predictions and recaps what has nonetheless been a spectacular year for the solid-state-lighting industry

It is the end of 2008, a year many may wish to forget, but those fortunate enough to be involved in energy efficient lighting and particularly the LED industry have witnessed a significant turning point not only for the technology but also market adoption. The current global financial crisis has not been able to stem the rush of innovative white light solutions and record breaking lumens per watt research figures and this year’s round up will be in a new chronological format.

LAST YEAR’S PREDICTIONS FOR 2008
OK I admit it; I wasn’t completely correct in predicting what was going to happen in the SSL world in 2008 so I thought I would get it out of the way straight away! For the first time since I started this column I have failed to completely predict the LED technology that would be launched in 2008 but the great news is that the technology is still advancing at a rapid pace.

I made three predictions:
1. The first 500 lumen single chip white LED in production;
2. A 1 watt LED that exceeds 120 LPW efficiency;
3. The first 2A rated single chip LED.

The first was close in one respect, a technical one. In July OSRAM announced that it had created a single chip white LED that delivered 500 lumens at 1.4A but unfortunately for me it was in the laboratory and not in production!
Prediction number two has been achieved by most of the major LED manufacturers including OSRAM, CREE and Philips Lumileds in the labs. However CREE and Philips Lumileds have >110 lumens minimum in production.
The final prediction was not achieved with the maximum rated forward current remaining at 1.5A, a record still held by the Lumileds K2.
Anyway, less talk about 2007 and more about the substantial achievements of the SSL industry in 2008.

JANUARY 2008
Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions formed: The year started with a bang or should I say a boom with CK and Philips SSL joining forces to become ‘Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions’, the first fully integrated LED solutions provider. This partnership claims to bring multiple benefits specifically in the areas of greater access to a wide ranging product portfolio, continuous product development and improved flexibility of application and design possibilities.

FEBRUARY 2008
OSRAM improve upon White LED homogeneity: OSRAM refined its production and selection procedures for its Power TopLED, Advanced Power TopLED and DRAGON high-power LEDs to provide fixture manufacturers with homogenous light colours and narrower CCT and CRI tolerances. Precisely defined colour coordinates ensure that different LEDs within one white group reliably emit the same homogenous white light – with no visible colour deviations. LED of one particular bin can be used in lighting applications without the need for further checks. Even in critical applications such as diffused light sources or tightly packed light sources they meet stringent requirements in terms of homogeneity. The white tone of an LED is within a range that typically corresponds to a 3-step McAdams Ellipse.
Cree acquire LLF: In February Cree announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held LED Lighting Fixtures, Inc. (LLF) in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $100 million.
This was a large acquisition and big news for the entire industry as Cree continued its efforts to become a vertically integrated SSL solutions provider. LLF’s novel IP gives Cree the ability to deliver performance (LPW, CRI, beautiful colour) above conventional phosphor- or RGB-based LEDs implemented alone. This was an important moment for the whole industry as it points out the direction that LED manufacturers are moving as LED emitters become closer to being commodity items.
Seoul Semiconductor announce the 80 lm/W AC driven LED: Seoul’s world leading AC-driven LED known as the Acriche achieved a lumens per watt efficacy level of 80 lm/W in both 2W and 4W emitter versions. For the first time a Lighting class LED was produced that could be driven directly from mains voltages. Later in the year the Acriche also gained safety approvals such as TUV and UL enabling them to be easily incorporated into fixtures.
Seoul Semiconductor announce P7 world’s highest brightness emitter: Seoul’s Z-Power P7 LED emitter series delivered the world’s highest brightness LED package with up to 900 lumens output at a mere 10 watts. This was achieved by packaging 4x1sqmm LED die close together and using advanced packaging techniques to reduce the thermal resistance to produce the first LEDs that emitted more light than a 60W incandescent. It was also the first time a single LED emitter package in a space of only 18.4mm x 12mm x 6.54mm could produce the same raw lumens as a 15W CFL bulb which was pretty impressive!
Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions launch new products at The ARC Show: PSSLS showcased for the first time at The Arc Show new product additions including eWTM Downlight SM Powercore, eWTM Profile Powercore, eWTM Cove Powercore, ColorBlast® 12 Powercore and iColor® Accent Powercore.

MARCH 2008
LSG and Tech Lighting collaborate on new LED lighting solutions: Lighting Science Group entered into a development and marketing agreement with Tech Lighting to launch a full line of LED-based lighting Products. LSG starts to integrate its patented LED technology into Tech Lighting’s light fixtures for both residential and commercial use. One of the first products will be a 6 watt LED module for the residential market which will replace a 35 watt bulb with equivalent light output.
Osram report warm-white OLED with 46 lm/W efficiency: Osram reported further progress in the development of energy-efficient OLEDs by achieving an efficiency of 46 lm/W, a brightness of 1000 cd/m2 and a lifetime of more than 5000 hours.
The warm-white OLED prototype panel measuring almost 100sqcm and had a colour rendering index of 80. The CIE colour coordinates were (0.46, 0.42).
For the first time it was demonstrated that it is possible to improve two crucial OLED characteristics – lifetime and efficiency – simultaneously. Usually with OLED products, higher efficiency means shorter lifetimes, and vice versa.
OSRAM’s development team had reached a real milestone for warm white OLEDs. With such a significant breakthrough with increased efficiency and life, OLED flat light sources are approaching the values of conventional lighting solutions and are therefore offering an attractive future alternative for lighting applications.
By March 2009, Osram expects that the development should be so far advanced that a demonstrator for an energy-saving OLED flat light module comprising several tiles will be able to deliver an overall luminous flux of 500 lm from a power consumption of less than 10W.

APRIL 2008
OSRAM and lighting designer launch world’s first OLED desk lamp: The renowned lighting designer Ingo Maurer is the first to use organic LEDs (OLEDs) from OSRAM in a function table light. The light, known as ‘Early Future’, was produced as a limited edition and it worked with tiles straight from the laboratory to demonstrate the enormous potential of OLEDs for future applications as eye-catching illumination and design elements. Ingo Maurer used tiles with an area of 132 x 33 millimeters for his creation.
LSG launch portfolio of LED replacement lamps: In April, Lighting Science Group Corporation launched the industry’s widest line of replacement LED lamps for both commercial and residential lighting applications. The simple, uniquely designed lamps offer unparalleled light output, matching traditional technology at a fraction of the energy consumption.
The new range delivers unprecedented levels of energy efficiency, light quality and output with the unique design optimising the lamp’s thermal management, enabling a life of up to 50,000 hours (10-30 years). The lamps claim to consume 80 percent less energy than conventional lighting sources, while matching light output. The company is initially targeting the estimated five billion Edison-based sockets in North America.
LSG Acquire Lighting Partner BV in Europe: As consideration LSG paid the former shareholders of LPBV US$5 million and issued a total of 4.632 million shares of LSG common stock (representing approximately 16% and 13% of the actual and fully diluted shares of LSG common stock outstanding respectively). LPBV had revenues of US$23 million with positive cash flow in 2007 and was expected to have positive cash flow on a standalone basis, before synergies, in 2008. Approximately 70% of LPBV’s business is LED based and this is a rapidly growing part of the business in line with the overall trend in the global lighting market. The company has also launched an innovative LED lighting system, Eyeleds(R) designed for indoor and outdoor applications globally. Eyeleds is currently distributed in over 35 countries and are used in the commercial and residential market.
Light and Building attracts record numbers and innovation: One of the biggest lighting shows in the world didn’t fail to disappoint with Light and Building 2008 showing a large increase in visitor numbers, a strong emphasis on energy efficient lighting products and a plethora of LED products. This year the show managed to attract a huge 165,000 visitors and 2173 exhibitors with overall visitor numbers up by 22% compared with 2006 and with approximately 40% of visitors finding their way from outside Germany.
Citizen electronics launched a new product range including white light LED emitters and small linear strips in a choice of two colour temperatures of 5000K and 2900K up to 16.9 watts in a package size of just 17.5 x 28 x 1.8mm. Citizen adopted smaller LED die used in conventional 5mm LED technology to create the CL-L220 single LED package offering a power scalable package for LED fixture manufacturers as it can offer a scalable lumen output from 300 lumens to 1150 lumens in a single package, see illustration below.
ACDC launched the Evolution downlighter (see this issue’s David Morgan product review), containing 9 luxeon rebels within each fixture which can be driven at both 350mA or 700mA depending upon which driver is specified. The Evolution comes in Cold, Neutral and Warm white LED options and three fixture variant of fixed, adjustable and trimless.
Integrated System Technologies (IST) demonstrated their new downlighter range, the first commercially available direct replacement for CFL equivalents, with a variety of cool and neutral white versions. The new products exceeded the total efficiency figure of 45lm/W making it Part L compliant in the UK. The downlights use 16 of the latest Luxeon rebel white LEDs and come in three versions of Cool, Neutral and Warm White and can be driven from 10W right up to 40W.
The downlighter includes a novel optical design that significantly reduces glare by simulating a non-LED light source.

MAY 2008
Cree launch high power XR-C colour range: Cree expanded its family of XLamp® XR-C high-power LEDs to include Royal Blue, Blue, Green, Amber, Red-Orange and Red.
Standard flux order codes at 350 mA included: 350mW in Royal Blue, 23.5 lm in Blue, 67.2 lm in Green, 51.7 lm in Amber, Red-Orange and Red
Cree announce LR4 downlighter: a four-inch architectural recessed LED downlight for new construction and renovation projects.
The LR4 delivers up to 540 lumens of high-quality light from less than 11 watts of power and features a colour rendering index (CRI) of up to 94, two available colour temperatures, warm white (2,700K) and neutral (3,500K), two available shield angles, 15° and 30°, and dimmable design, including compatibility with Lutron Electronics products.
Cree demonstrate the new MC-E at Lightfair: The multi-chip XLamp MC-E from Cree was demonstrated at Lightfair and retained the same 7mm x 9mm footprint as Cree’s existing XLamp XR family LEDs while providing four times the light output of the existing XR-E. This was announced as the highest lumen output for a package of this size.
Such a powerful combination of size and light output enables new applications and reduces overall system cost compared to other LED packages. At 9.8W, the XLamp MC-E LED demonstrated provided up to 790 lumens at 6000K and up to 605 lumens at 3000K.
Acuity Brands announce strategic alliance with Lighting Science Group to accelerate the development and marketing of LED products: Acuity and Lighting Science will jointly develop selected new products for architectural, commercial, industrial, and public infrastructure use.
Philips showcase Rebel downlight at LIGHTFAIR: Philips showcased the new Fortimo and Lexel downlight modules using LUXEON Rebel power LEDs which state they can cut energy consumption in half. Both modules, with accompanying thermal and power systems, enable lighting OEMs to quickly and easily equip the architectural and specification communities with complete white and downlight solutions. Fortimo modules can potentially reduce energy consumption by as much as 50% compared to CFL and Lexel modules can deliver perfectly controllable illumination. The Fortimo DLM 1100 uses 18 royal-blue LUXEON Rebel LEDs and a remote phosphor lens at the top of a mixing chamber to create a white-light module delivering 1100 lumens of light output with an efficiency of 62 lm/W. A second version of the Fortimo module delivers 2000 lm at 45 lm/W. Initially introduced with a 4000K correlated colour temperature, the use of different remote phosphor lenses allows for the possibility of additional white CCT options in the future.

JUNE 2008
Universal Display push white OLEDs to 100 lm/W: OLED developer Universal Display Corp. announced that it has demonstrated a record-breaking white OLED with an efficacy of 102 lumens per watt at 1000 cd/m2 using its proprietary, high-efficiency phosphorescent OLED technology. UDC’s light source has a not-too-impressive colour rendering index (CRI) of 70 and a coordinated colour temperature (CCT) of 3900K. The all-PHOLED structure uses complementary materials from Universal Display’s collaboration partners at LG Chem and Nippon Steel Chemical Co
Efficacy results for white OLEDs continue to improve quickly but of course, these are R&D results that are years away from production. In contrast, 100 lm/W LEDs are commercially available now.
However, Universal Display’s 102 lm/W milestone is a step on the path toward the DOE’s roadmap goal of a 150 lm/W commercial OLED light source by 2015.
IST launch volume production CFL downlight: The patented DL-0x0 LED downlighters were available in cool 5500K CCT and neutral 4100K CCT colour temperature options. This range of fixtures offers outstanding performance and a direct alternative to a twin 26 watt compact fluorescent downlighter.
The light engine lamp lumens for the DL-090 was independently measured at 1060 lumens and the DL-080 at 963 lumens. These figures have been calculated after the light engine had been running for 1 hour and measured in an integrating sphere. The LOR (Light Output Ratio) for the system is 0.89 which far exceeds any traditional lighting product on the market. The power consumed by each downlighter is around 20 circuit watts which means the DL-080 downlighter exceeds 40 lumens per watt system efficiency and the DL-090 exceeds 45 lumens per watt system efficiency and is suitable for Part L applications. For the highest output options, the average Lux levels for the DL-080 are 2170 at 1m, 545 at 2m and 242 at 3m. The highest option DL-090 is providing 2270 x at 1m, 567 x at 2m and 252 x at 3m. There are three cover options which include the standard diffuser, drop and an option without diffuser.
Philips introduce a patent licensing programme: for LED-based luminaires used in the general illumination, architectural and theatrical markets.
Philips’ policy is to share its intellectual property (some 1000+ patents) for basic control inventions for LED-based luminaires through licensing and the Philips IP addresses the basic control technologies required in a broad range of LED lighting applications. This new program extends the former Color Kinetics licensing program to enable faster growth of the Solid State Lighting market.

The Royalty Rates by category: (*) include:
Single Colour luminaire:
3% of net selling price
Tuneable White luminaire:
4% of net selling price
Colour-Changing luminaire:
5% of net selling price (*)

Royalties will be charged on a country by country basis to the extent that patent coverage for the specific product feature is present for that country.
Several competitive lighting companies in the industry are unhappy and start to challenge the IP dominance including Lighting Science Group.
MARL International win AMTRAK order: Marl announced a sales agreement with the US railroad operator Amtrak, under which its LED lamps will be fitted into all new Superliner carriages.
According to Marl, the contract was awarded on the basis of high intensity LED lamps that are easy to install, require no maintenance, create very little heat and are excellent in high vibration applications such as train coaches. The lighting products have been able to meet all the applicable US railroad safety regulations, especially those covering emergency lighting. In the event of total power loss, the Marl lamps would continue to provide illumination for four hours from the back-up battery
The Marl lamps offer a very long service life, and the products supplied to Amtrak have a rated continuous service life of 70,000 hours. Amtrak is to install 24 of these lights into each new Superliner car. Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail services to more than 500 destinations in 46 states on a 22,000-mile route system in the USA.

JULY 2008
OSRAM break LED lumens per watt efficiency and brightness in laboratory: By improving all the technologies involved in the manufacture of LEDs, OSRAM development engineers achieved a new record for the brightness and efficiency of white LEDs in the laboratory. Under standard conditions with an operating current of 350 mA, brightness peaked at a value of 155 lumens, and efficacy at 136 lm/W. White prototype LEDs with 1sqmm chips were used. The light produced had a colour temperature of 5000 K, with colour coordinates at 0.349/ 0.393 (cx/cy).
The key to their success was the efficient interplay between all the advances made in materials and technologies. A perfectly matched system of optimized chip technology, a highly advanced and extremely efficient light converter and a special high-performance package combined to produce the world records - 155 lm for brightness and 136 lm/W for efficacy. The semiconductor light sources are also suitable for high operating currents. At 1.4 Amps they produced up to 500 lm of white light from a single die.
It is anticipated that it will take less than two years for these technologies to reach high volume production making future energy efficiency saving guaranteed.
UK Government announce support for Ultra Efficient Lighting: Dr Geoff Archenhold, was seconded as an Industrial Advisor to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to help drive the use of public procurement of ultra efficient lighting (UEL) and to promote the Government’s sustainability objectives.
The role was to develop intelligent procurement models across central, regional and local government departments to meet the Government’s commitment to lowering Greenhouse gas emissions including CO2 and to stimulate and assist the UK Solid-State Lighting supply chain to be ready for future public procurement opportunities.
The very first public sector client to enroll was Rotherham Foundation Trust Hospital that wishes to use UEL to help reduce energy costs and provide an improved experience for the patient through quality lighting.
The world’s first variable variable current 1A LED driver launched: The new iDrive 1000 shipped in volume: a resilient 3-channel 210 watt LED driver incorporating several patented power technologies to provide a passive (without the need for a cooling fan) small physical form factor LED driver capable of driving the latest generation of high power LEDs.
The feature packed iDrive-1000 is the world’s first LED driver to incorporate variable forward current options enabling users to choose any current between 350mA right up to 1000mA in 50mA steps independently on each of the three channels. For the first time, users can optimise the LED forward current on each channel according to the type of LED and the thermal capability of the fixture attached to the driver. This unique feature provides LED fixture manufacturers with a new ability to optimise the light output from fixture designs and maximise the light offering to their customers.
Lighting Science Group acquire Lamina Lighting, Inc: Lighting Science Group announced it has acquired all of the assets of Lamina Lighting Inc, a leader in the development and manufacture of high-power LED light engines and modules. Year-to-date revenues for Lamina in the first six months of 2008 were approximately $2.1 million.
LSG paid Lamina $4.5 million in cash. LSG may also make “earn-out” payments to Lamina of up to $10.5 million in the second quarter of 2010. The amount of any future earn-out payments will be determined based on 85% of the 2009 sales of Lamina products and certain components developed by Lamina, subject to certain adjustments. Under the purchase agreement, LSG acquired all inventories, accounts receivable, property and equipment and intellectual property of Lamina, and assumed all accounts payable and certain other accrued liabilities

AUGUST 2008
Cree announce new XP-E and XP-C: Cree announces the second new major Power LED package platform of 2008 with the launch of a new standard for lighting-class LEDs with the introduction of the XLamp® XP-E and XP-C LEDs. These breakthrough LEDs have the smallest footprint in the industry for lighting-class LEDs providing the same high-quality lighting performance and proven reliability as Cree XR-E and XR-C LEDs in an 80-percent smaller package.
The new XLamp LEDs, measuring just 3.45mm square by 2mm high, can enable new applications, including backlighting, signage, outdoor, indoor and portable lighting, thanks to their small size and low profile as well as a wide viewing angle and symmetrical package. Available bins for XLamp XP-E LEDs include minimums of 100 lumens at 350 mA in cool white (5000 K - 10000 K) and 80.6 lumens at 350 mA in warm white (2600 K - 3700 K).
The XP packages are currently being transitioned by Cree to their high volume manufacturing plant in Huizhou, China.
PhotonStar LED launches Gen 2 CeilingStar5 with 70lm/W: When driven at 12W the CS5 produces 600 Lumens (50 lm/W) and offers equivalent performance to a 50W MR16 and is available in 70 and 32 Degree beam angles. The product was designed to exceed the proposed UK ECA requirement.

SEPTEMBER 2008
Philips and Osram conclude patent license agreement: Philips and Osram agree licence deal for LED-based technology used in luminaires.
Philips’ customers purchasing all key LED luminaire components from Philips already enjoy the advantage of not having to pay royalties under Philips’ recently introduced LED-based luminaire licensing program. Now, Osram has taken a license from Philips to obtain the same effect for Osram customers. The compensation to Philips for this arrangement also benefits Philips customers because it includes royalty free access to Osram LED system patents when purchasing all key components from Philips. This agreement is a next step in making the basic Philips LED control IP broadly available to accelerate the development of the market.
IST launches the iDrive-025 a 25 W white LED driver: IST launched it first single channel driver idea for single colour applications. The iDrive-025 is a 25W LED driver capable of driving LEDs at 350mA with total forward voltages between 30 and 72V DC and are perfect for white light LED applications. The high efficiency driver comes with a 3 year warranty.
PhotonStar launch its ChromaWhite technology: PhotonStar LED demonstrates its ChromaWhite Intelligent Luminaire technology, a high quality LED based illumination source (excellent colour rendering, CRI 95) that is colour temperature tuneable (2700K to 6500K). In addition, the technology offers cost savings of up to 70% compared to current LED luminares and drivers as it dramatically increases product yield through a system level approach.

OCTOBER 2008
Cree and Zumtobel announce strategic agreement: Cree announces a long-term strategic agreement with the Austrian Zumtobel Group, a global market leader in the professional lighting industry and listed on the Vienna stock exchange, to supply LED downlights to the European market. They will be sold exclusively under two brands of the Zumtobel Group, Thorn and Zumtobel, in more than 40 countries throughout Europe and selected export markets.
IST announce launch of new CE, UL and cUL approved 3-Channel LED iDriveTM to LED fixture OEMs: The new IST UL driver is one of the first world-wide rated and approved universal drivers for LEDs that operates from mains voltages between 100 and 240V. A new high power, double-insulated LED connector has been introduced to ensure the UL driver will meet the latest driver safety standards, including UL1012/cUL1012 and IEC 61347-2-13. Compliance to these standards will allow customers to sell the iDriveTM-UL in the US, Canada and the rest of the world.
The new iDriveTM-UL is specifically tailored to LED fixture OEMs and IST has introduced its OEM Partner Programme to include bespoke OEM printed labelling and packaging for minimum batch orders of 500 units. This new service enables OEMs to develop their own fully branded lighting systems.
Marl provide SSL for security applications: Marl launched LED-based security floodlights offering exceptionally powerful downward illumination – but draw just 30W and can last for over ten years.
Marl 742 series high brightness security lights use four efficient LED light engines in a ruggedized, vandal-resistant, IP65 rated enclosure to deliver a low energy, maintenance free solution for perimeter, path, driveway, industrial and other security lighting applications. The lights can last for over ten years, based on a rated life of 50,000 hours, and twelve hours continuous use per day, and draw just 30W when in use.
The 742 series enclosure has been design to minimise light pollution, casting its beam downwards to provide a wide area of clear white illumination below. This feature further helps improve the efficiency of the unit. The lamps have a number of 20mm conduit entry points on the back and sides allowing maximum flexibility when mounting the unit. Mounting brackets for internal and external corners, as well as a pole mounting bracket are optionally available if required.
The rugged case is sealed against moisture and dust ingress to IP65, and features die-cast aluminium construction with a prismatic polycarbonate lens to protect the lamp against accidental damage and deliberate attack.

NOVEMBER 2008
Cree announce record lumens per watt from a High-Power LED: Industry-best reported R&D results of 161 lumens per watt for a white power LED.
These results demonstrate Cree’s continued commitment to deliver industry-leading performance through a constant focus on innovation and R&D. Cree’s tests confirmed that the 1mm x 1mm LED produced 173 lumens of light output and achieved 161 lumens per watt efficacy at a colour temperature of 4689K. The tests were conducted under standard LED test conditions at a drive current of 350mA, at room temperature. A phenomenal result so close to the end of 2008!
Philips publish its installation at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, UK: The centre is allowed to use the EST logo as a result of its LED works. The Bullring has now replaced the old cold cathode lighting system with Philips eW® Cove Powercore which were primarily used to illuminate the areas around the main escalators, toilets and lifts as well as decorative shaped facets recessed into the ceiling voids of the main walkways. Switching to this new LED technology will deliver an 85% reduction in energy needed to illuminate the centre which equates to an estimated £34,000 savings in running costs per annum or some 251 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
PhotonStar LED demonstrate its LED downlighter range at The Sleep Event: The Range consists of eleven fittings, nine recessed and two surface mount products and PhotonStar has recently shipped its first entire building LED lighting project (a 4 story office building) offering the user a potential energy saving of 71,000 kWh per year and a potential annual carbon dioxide saving of 28,000 kgs. So far the company has completed over 100 projects in residential, hotel and commercial applications.

DECEMBER 2008
Philips ColorReachTM Powercore becomes available: The ColorReach is an optimised system designed specifically for large-scale exterior floodlighting applications. With more than 4,000 lumens of output and 400-foot (122-meter) projection, the system brings saturated colour and customisable effects to large buildings, monuments, bridges and towers for 21st-century, sustainable city beautification. ColorReach Powercore combines advanced LED technology and system design to make LED sources viable for even the largest-scale exterior applications. In addition to its high performance, the fixture utilises proprietary technologies for digital control and power management, making it easy to use and install as a single-cable line voltage system. Industry-changing Chromacore® technology allows each ColorReach Powercore fixture to produce millions of colors and color-changing effects without the cumbersome use of gels, filters or mechanical color scrollers that require frequent repair and replacement.

FINAL OBSERVATIONS
IP issues: Several IP issues are still ongoing in this new lighting space with several LED manufacturers still fighting their position, notably Seoul Semiconductor and Nichia. However, Philips with its all-reaching 1000+ patent licensing programme, has started to see industry players create cross licencing partnerships eg; Osram-Philips, Osram-TG, Seoul-Tridonic Atco etc.
These agreements are important to the industry in that it keeps the big guys focused on innovation and out of the courts.
It is important that end users ensure they ask questions of their LED suppliers about the quality of their IP portfolio or whether they are licencing the technology within the products they sell from someone such as Philips.
It is always a good rule of thumb to remember that if an LED product is not covered by IPR then it will be inevitably infringing someone else so you may not be able to rely on future support from your supplier as they may be in court!

CONCLUSIONS
2008 has been a stunning year for Solid-State Lighting which has witnessed LED technology leapfrog CFL lighting in terms of performance (with price soon to follow) and driver technology becoming even more sophisticated and flexible. LEDs have again increased the performance bar with a record 161 lumens per watt efficiency at a CCT of 4689K in the laboratories and generating 172 lumens at a forward current of 350mA.
OLED technology is gradually moving forward in terms of performance with record efficacy of 102 lumens per watt at 1000 cd/m2 using high-efficiency phosphorescent OLED technology. This is an impressive milestone for such an emerging technology but there are still several major hurdles to overcome in order to mass produce lighting resilient products. I am sure this will be a technology to watch in the next 5 to 10 years for the lighting industry but it is clear in the short term the best technology to back is surely LEDs.
2009 will still be a growth year for LED lighting manufacturers - despite the economy - and we will see a proportion of traditional lighting companies that have not begun the transition to LED technologies fail during the year as consumers decide to move to a greener lighting solution.
Next year will see a whole raft of colour tuneable white light products launched on the market enabling users to command the lighting environment. The use of LED technology will also see the incorporation of intelligent controls within fixture designs without significant cost surplus making the energy efficient gap between traditional light sources and LED based products extend significantly.
Of course LED emitter technology will continue to be enhanced but to be honest 2008 was the last year in which lumens per watt was such a major factor as focus moves towards functionality, cost and overall system efficiency.

Have a great festive holiday and a happy New Year. Don’t forget you can email me on geoff@lowcarbonlighting.com
if you would like to discuss anything SSL.

 

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