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EuroLED conference provides glimpse into lighting future

issue 31 June / July 2006

Solid state lighting specialist Geoff Archenhold, now seconded to the Department of Trade and Industry, starts a regular column about the development of LED technology, dispelling the myths and explaining the truths...

The recent euroLED conference and exhibition in Birmingham set the scene for a detailed insight into the future of lighting – Solid-State Lighting that is. The event included a full two-day technical programme, four lighting workshops and more than 27 exhibitors. Next year’s event has already been pencilled in for June 6-7, 2007. Now in its third year, euroLED 2006 attracted leading LED and lighting manufacturers from around the world to discuss the latest trends, technologies and issues affecting the lighting industry over two days. Day one concentrated on LED trends and technologies with interesting presentations from Cree outlining the “big white” applications for LEDs, Lexedis Lighting describing their new XED LED product range, Novaled reinforcing the potential for Organic LEDs (OLEDs) to break into the lighting market within five years and Mesophotonics predicting a near four-fold increase in LED light output efficiency through the use of new photonic crystal technology. The second day covered applications of LEDs with highlights from Keith Scott of Philips Lumileds describing how to compare apples to apples when selecting LEDs. Additional presentations from Professor Phil Jones of the Welsh School of Architecture enticed the audience by explaining what architects really want from LEDs and Narendran Nadarajah from the US Lighting Research Centre discussed whether LEDs systems are catering to the needs of the lighting specifier. The hugely successful workshop series attracted significant numbers of delegates to learn how [not] to drive LEDs courtesy of Supertex inc, how to measure LED systems by Pro-lite Technology followed by practical advice for LED lighting developers through MARL international and Lamina Ceramics and an Architects Workshop by the Welsh School of Architecture.

Conference and Exhibition Highlights

Mark McClear of Cree Inc in his presentation entitled “Pushing the boundaries of SSL: Technology and Market Drivers” discussed the S-Curve which outlined the maturity of LED technology for “big white” lighting applications and described how the LED industry is on the verge of entering mainstream lighting applications such as street lighting (See figure 1). A robust business case made compelling value propositions for LED-based fixtures compared to conventional lamp technologies and it was clear that continuing LED technology advancements will yield significant numbers of economical LED luminaries across traditional “big white” applications. McClear also revealed that Cree would shortly introduce the XR7090 series white XLamp devices with an output of 70 lm and efficacy of 60 lm/W. Chris Mesnager of Lexedis Lighting highlighted the new high-brightness white XED LED range of products they have under development. The advantages outlined included exceptionally small package design enabling complete flexibility for designers from the nanoXED providing 24 lumen output in a size of only 2.5mm square through to the 80 lumen, 6.5mm square LED. Chris outlined within his presentations the importance of meeting the 75 lumen per watt efficiency with a CRI value of more than 85 for white LEDs. Christian Hochfilzer at Tridonic.Atco outlined solutions to meet next generation LED lighting applications including the use of chip-on-board technology with LEDs being placed directly onto a metal core plate to provide improved thermal design. This technology has been implemented in a new P-series product range that provides white light at 6500K from the P211 at 75 lumens right up to a power module with 900 lumens output consuming only 28.8 Watts. Professor Nadarajah from the US Lighting Research Center also provided a clear warning to both fixture manufacturers and lighting specifiers that not all LEDs are equal and that one should ensure quality LEDs are used within lighting applications. He described how the Research Center had tested a cross section of the high powered 1W LEDs from a variety of LED manufacturers and found a large variation in their quality (See figure 2 outlining the variance in LED life and lumen maintenance). In order to help the lighting community understand the life of LEDs used in general lighting applications and to help manufacturers gather data and report them in a unified manner, the ASSIST programme has developed a series of recommendations backed by CREE, Nichia, Philips-Lumileds, Osram Sylvania and GELcore amongst many others. These recommendations will prove to be extremely useful for end users and lighting specifiers as LEDs displace conventional lighting systems. Keith Scott of Philips Lumileds covered the topic, “Selecting the right LEDs: how to compare apples to apples”. The talk provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges in making a comparison of high power lighting fixtures. He eloquently outlined the pitfalls covering the trade-off between luminous flux and efficacy, minimum verses typical performance and temperature characteristic evaluation. Other factors highlighted included comparing qualitative benefits such as “colour” uniformity in the optical beam, colour rendering, lumen maintenance, bin selection and miniaturisation of source size. Interestingly, Philips Lumileds are responding to industry demands for improved white light consistency by redefining and enhancing their LED bin structure for their new Luxeon K2 product range providing more choice to the LED fixture manufacturers (see figure 3). Keith also highlighted the advantage of the new Luxeon K2 LEDs by demonstrating how the lighting fixture manufacturer now has new choices in fixture design through the ability of the K2 to be driven at different luminous flux outputs and efficiency ratings according to the designer’s requirement. Within the exhibition, MARL International launched the Aztec16, its latest generation high flux LED solution to the architectural market. The Aztec16 has been developed in response to demands from the lighting industry for a workhorse lighting product that has the flexibility to address a broad spectrum of applications and can be tailored to meet that most demanding of requirements – the individual, specific tastes of the end client (see Product Round-Up). Finally, in a glimpse of the future, UK company Mesophotonics outlined how their quasi-Photonic Crystal technology (see figure 4) will revolutionise LEDs in the near future with a predicted 3.8x increase in LED efficiency compared to today’s LEDs without increasing energy consumption. If the technology is implemented across the LED industry we should start to see 150 lumen per watt LEDs sooner than expected! It really does seem that LEDs have a bright future in lighting.


Figure 1

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