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Friday, November 30, 2012

DOE announces SBIR/STTR funding deadlines for GaN manufacturing projects

The US DOE has sponsored another round of Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer funding opportunities, with subtopics in bulk GaN substrates, epitaxial growth and device redesign.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has announced that it has sponsored another round of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding opportunities. Included in the opportunities is Topic 11, "Wide bandgap semiconductors for energy efficiency and renewable energy," which are funded at the levels of $150,000 for Phase 1 of the projects and $1 million for Phase II. Parties interested in applying for the grants should note that the deadline for the short letter-of-intent submission is September 4 and if a full application is invited, it is due October 16.
The published subtopics contained in Topic 11 are intentionally broad and general in order to promote maximum participation and innovation, but have performance goals and metrics based on the DOE SSL Multi-Year Program Plan. Within the wide bandgap semiconductors topic, grant applications are being sought in three subtopic areas: bulk GaN substrates and novel architectures; advances in epitaxial growth; and device redesign and passive components.

The first subtopic solicits applications that offer cost-effective, practical, and scalable solutions to the problem of native GaN substrate production (i.e., GaN-on-GaN). A long-term target involves the development of methods that allow scaling of GaN wafers to 150 mm and 200 mm diameter with dislocation density below 104/cm2 at costs that do not exceed 2-3X that of silicon wafers. Additionally, novel technological approaches that rely on nanoscale or other unique architectures are strongly encouraged as long as they illustrate a clear path to commercial-scale device production.

The second subtopic targets the potential to reduce defect densities by an order of magnitude for epitaxial processes involving GaN growth on one or more of silicon, sapphire and SiC, or SiC-on-SiC. Candidate grants should describe the method for reducing defect densities including the novel epitaxial process description and the integration of in situ metrology into the production process. Again, cost should not exceed 2-3X that of a silicon process.

The device redesign subtopic targets end-user applications including microgrids and traction motors at 10-15 kV, electric vehicles at 600-1200V and small-scale commercial operations at 110-480V. Questions can be submitted at

The last time the DOE invited SBIR/STTR applications was in March of this year.

Philips to install 100 solar-powered lighting centers across Africa

By 2015, Philips plans to have installed 100 lighting centers across Africa, which will bring evening sport, education, healthcare and commerce to off-grid areas.
Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG; AEX:PHI) has launched a new initiative to install 100 light centers, areas of approximately 1000m2 or the size of a small soccer field, with solar-powered LED lighting. The target is rural communities without access to an electricity grid.
Solar-powered lighting center
The first 40 lighting centers are scheduled for installation later this year and will be focused on schools that are closely linked to villages and towns in off-grid or semi-grid areas. They will provide communal areas that can be used for sports and many other activities – healthcare, education, social and commerce.
Over three years, Philips will invest EUR1.2 million (US$1.48 million) in this project. Maintenance is expected to be self-sustaining as local authority/owners can rent out the light or advertising space and generate an income. An announcement on which sites and in which countries the light centers will be installed will follow by October 2012. Philips is seeking partnerships with local authorities in Africa to expand the program.

Soccer field lit by LEDs
Philips has already completed installing light centers in a number of African countries (Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa) during its Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012, which visited 17 cities. Each planned 1000m2 lighting center will use four 8m-tall poles (13 ft), all of which are fitted with LED luminaires that consume less power than a 60W light bulb and provide 20 lux of cold white light.
The new light-center initiative also serves as a commitment to action by Philips in support of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. This initiative has a primary goal of sustainable energy for all, and three complementary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030. They include ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

“Philips is to be commended for this innovative new initiative,” said Kandeh Yumkella, director-general of the UN Industrial Development Organization and co-chair of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. “Sustainable energy for all is about opportunity -- opportunities to learn and live healthy and productive lives. The private sector plays a key role in the implementation of this initiative, and Philips’ work will help us achieve our goal of sustainable energy for all by 2030.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Albeo wins patent for integrating bare LED die directly in fixtures

Albeo's chip-in-fixture approach holds promise of lower manufacturing costs for SSL troffers, although products are a year or more away.
Lighting-fixture maker Albeo Technologies has received US Patent 8,058,659 entitled "LED chip-based lighting products and methods of building" that covers the concept of integrating bare LED die directly into fixtures. The novel approach to solid-state lighting (SSL) could lower costs by eliminating both the LED package and the traditional printed circuit board, but products based on the technology are at least a year away.

About the traditional approach to SSL fixtures, Albeo CEO Jeff Bisberg said, "You have a stack-up of materials that add cost. You have a stack-up of materials that add thermal resistance." Albeo hopes to eliminate both.

Albeo plans to use pick-and-place assembly techniques to install bare die onto a metal substrate that's part of the light fixture with the circuit connections applied through laminate or stencil technology, or even by inkjet printers down the road. Bisberg said, "You turn the fixture into the printed circuit board.

Troffer focus
The company is focused on using small low-to mid-power LEDs such as 0.25-mm chips with a focus squarely on the linear troffer market and the huge installed base of lighting that's in need of replacement in commercial and industrial settings. Already SSL vendors are targeting that application both with purpose-built fixtures and with LED-based T8 retrofit tubes – both offering greater efficiency but struggling to match the cost of fluorescent technology.

Bisberg claims the chip-in-fixture approach will offer lower cost than current approaches. He said that the DOE has estimated that the package in which an LED die is encapsulated is 40% of the cost of the packaged LED component. Moreover, he said the printed circuit board can be 20-30% of the cost of an LED fixture.

One challenge for Albeo will be adapting equipment that can handle bare die to work on the scale of a fixture in terms of size. The equipment used by LED makers to handle bare die is designed to place the die in small packages that max out at the chip-on-board size in the range of a 1-in diameter. The machines used to manufacture larger printed-circuit boards by fixture makers and subcontractors aren't designed to handle bare die.

Assembling bare die
Bisberg said that there are machines that can place bare die on a 1×1-ft substrate today. He said Albeo would likely start with smaller subassemblies, several of which would be integrated into a fixture. And Albeo will likely need a close partner from among the LED manufacturers to accomplish that goal.

The company faces a second challenge in that it intends to use blue LEDs without the phosphor layer applied. The patent covers both direct phosphor application and remote phosphor approaches, although the direct approach would be after the bare die are assembled to a substrate. Bisberg said that inkjet technology can be used to apply phosphor to individual LEDs spread over the scale of a 2x2-ft, or even 4x4-ft substrate.

The concept of working with bare die is likely frightful for anyone that has worked in the traditional semiconductor industry with large ICs that have many connections where packaging is extremely important. But Bisberg says that "LEDs are pretty simple devices with just two terminals." He said the company has built full-size troffers by hand in the lab using the patented techniques.

Bisberg summed up the company's plans saying, "It’s a true fixture play that strips out the cost associated with the traditional supply chain." It's certainly a novel idea, but one that has lots of potential roadblocks.

Epistar to take over Huga Optotech in share swap

LED chipmaker Epistar has plans to completely take over subsidiary Huga Optotech through a share swap.
Taiwan’s largest chip maker, Epistar, has announced it will completely take over subsidiary Huga Optotech through a share swap in which one Epistar share will be exchanged for 4.85 Huga shares. The merger will take effect on December 28, 2012.
In July of 2010, Epistar took a 47.88% stake in Huga Optotech. The new deal will expand Epistar's registered capital to NT9.1 billion (USD303.3 million) from NT8.6 billion currently. Epistar currently holds a 50.85% share in Huga.

Huga has a production capacity of 150,000 units of 2-in equivalent epitaxial wafers a month, and the company is currently running at 70% of its capacity. Meanwhile, Epistar has a capacity of 330,000-340,000 epitaxial wafers per month.

After the merger, Huga's production lines will focus on the production of low-power LED chips, while those of Epistar's will be responsible for high-power LED chips.

Synergistic effects of the merger are likely to take place in the second quarter of 2013, said Epistar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cree LED fixtures light Newport News public schools

Outdoor SSL products will save the Newport News school district 139,000 kWh annually in energy use and meet district sustainability requirements.
Wall-mount The Edge luminaires
The Newport News Public School District located in Virginia has installed 185 Cree solid-state lighting (SSL) fixtures in an outdoor-lighting application at seven district schools. The LED-based lighting was used to replace 189 high-pressure sodium (HPS) and 150 incandescent fixtures.

The school district projects 65% savings in annual energy costs associated with lighting at the seven schools. The energy reduction is projected at 139,000 kWh annually equating to a reduction of 191,000 pounds of carbon emissions.

District officials expect payback on the project to come in three years with operational savings continuing for many more years. "These energy-efficient lights virtually eliminate maintenance, provide the district with dramatic energy savings and also reflect the community’s commitment to sustainability," said Keith Webb, executive director of plant services for the Newport News Public School District. "The LED lighting furthers our goal of enhancing and bettering the learning environment, while saving money for the schools and tax payers."

Corridor LED lighting at Booker T. Washington school
The district selected Cree's The Edge SSL luminaire family for the project. The Edge series includes products for security, parking, and area lighting in a variety of styles and form factors.

Schools that received the retrofits include General Stanford Elementary, Greenwood Elementary, Lee Hall Elementary, Palmer Elementary, Crittenden Middle, Booker T. Washington Middle, and Denbigh High. The new lighting provides enhanced uniformity and color quality in exterior corridors, walkways, and entryways.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Color mixing enables high CRI and high LED efficacy

When amber LEDs are combined with phosphor-converted blue LEDs, warm white light with both high CRI and high efficacy can be attained simultaneously.
Marc Dyble, product marketing manager of SSL products at Osram Opto Semiconductors discussed the potential of mixing monochromatic LEDs with phosphor-converted LEDs (PC-LEDs) to achieve high CRI and high efficacy at the same time. He presented this approach at the LED Show in Las Vegas last week.
High CRI image with color mixing.
Dyble stated that color mixing, marketed as Brilliant Mix by Osram Opto, provides an alternative method of achieving high CRI for applications such as high-end retail. He explained that typical approach today to attaining warm/neutral white light with LEDs and high CRI (>90) comes with a penalty of luminaire efficacy in the 75 lm/W range. Instead, if a combination of monochromatic LEDs (amber) are placed alongside phosphor-converted blue LEDs either in a multichip chip-on-board or multichip array, luminaire efficacy in the 90 lm/W range (up to 110 lm/W at the LED level) can be attained at 2700K.
Color rending components
Dyble noted that there are some caveats to taking this approach. For instance, an optical mixing chamber may be required to obtain the necessary color consistency. In addition, the correlated color temperature (CCT) over temperature may vary. To improve stability, light and temperature sensors can be installed and compensation circuitry can be implemented.
However, Dyble contends that a color mixing approach should definitely prove better than methods that overdrive the LEDs and lead to early luminaire failure. In addition, from a user standpoint a tradeoff can be made between efficiency and color rendering by adjusting the monochromatic to PC-LED driving ratio. “One of the reasons we’ve been able to do this is because we’ve been able to linearize the efficiency of monochromatic LEDs,” said Dyble.

He added that Osram Opto and Cree have cross-licensing agreements in the area of color mixing.

Cree and Rubicon announce financials, deliver positive news for the LED segment

Cree reports 26% year-over-year increase in quarterly revenue while at LED sapphire substrate manufacturer Rubicon Technology, quarter-over-quarter revenue grew from $10.2 to $17 million.
LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) manufacturer Cree announced revenue of $306.8 million for its fiscal 2012 4th quarter that ended June 24. Rubicon Technology expects quarterly revenue to grow from $17 million to the $18-$21 million range.

Cree financials improve
Cree's quarterly revenue was 26% up from the $243 million reported in the same quarter last year. Moreover it represented an 8% increase over the prior quarter this year. Annual 2012 revenue was $1.16 billion, up from $988 million the prior year.

"We finished the year strong in our fiscal fourth quarter with record revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share on the high end of our target range," stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. "Overall, LED lighting adoption continues to increase and we remain focused on being the leader in innovation to grow our business by enabling our customers to realize the tremendous benefits of LED technology. While we are encouraged by our progress, the macroeconomic environment is impacting our growth outlook in the near term."

Cree is targeting revenue in a range of $305-$325 million for its first fiscal 2013 quarter. Moreover it expects gross margin in the 36% range, and that would represent a slight improvement over 2012 performance.

Larger wafers boost Rubicon
Rubicon's growth for the quarter that ended June 30 was relatively modest, although the company reported positive news specifically relative to 6-in wafers, and that's an area of strength for the company. The company said revenue from the larger wafers increased 84% sequentially to $10.1 million and represents 59% of the quarterly revenue.

"I am pleased with the growth in our six-inch wafer business in the quarter and expect additional growth in the second half of the year," said Raja Parvez, president and CEO of Rubicon. Gross profit was break even for the quarter, however, and the company attributed weak pricing for 2- and 4-in sapphire cores as one culprit.

Rubicon said it saw the beginning of a recovery in the LED market during the quarter. The company expects margins to improve going forward, but also said inventory of smaller wafers will remain a problem.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Soraa will lead DOE funded research on GaN LED substrates

The DOE's transformational-energy agency ARPA-E has selected GaN-on-GaN startup Soraa to lead a project on the development of bulk GaN substrates.
Startup Soraa emerged from stealth status back in February at the Strategies in Light Conference with gallium nitride (GaN)-on-GaN LED technology, and now announces that it will lead a DOE project focused on developing bulk GaN substrates. The US Department of Energy (DOE) agency called Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) first funded Soraa on the project in 2011 and has now decided to make Soraa the prime contractor.

Soraa believes that GaN has immediate applicability for brighter LEDs and perhaps other industries as well. Using the same material for the substrate and epitaxial layers results in a better match of the crystalline structures. The result, according to Soraa, is the ability to drive LEDs at higher current with less droop.

As Soraa points out, other segments of the semiconductor industry use what are sometimes called native substrates, such as the silicon-on-silicon technology used to manufacture the bulk of digital ICs such as microprocessors. But the adoption of GaN-on-GaN in LEDs and other applications has been hampered by the high costs of the substrates. The ARPA-E agency hope to capitalize on an opportunity with a US-developed solution.

Soraa's founder Shuji Nakamura has long worked with GaN in his pioneering work developing high-power LEDs. Nakamura said, "I have spent many decades of my life working on gallium nitride for LEDs because I believe this is a very important development and holds great promise for more energy efficient technology in lighting, power electronics and more."

"It is clear to ARPA-E that Soraa’s system design and capabilities represent a breakthrough path toward the development of high-quality, low-cost GaN substrates," said Mark Johnson, ARPA-E program director. "We are excited to move forward in supporting their process development, crystal quality improvements, and device characterization."

The DOE believes that applications for GaN substrates have the potential to reduce US energy consumption significantly. Moreover, the DOE estimates that GaN products such as LEDs, laser diodes, and power electronics have the potential of being worth over $50 billion annually.

"We are pleased and honored that ARPA-E has recognized the value and impact of Soraa’s true bulk GaN substrate technology," said Mark D’Evelyn, Soraa’s principal investigator on the project. "DOE’s recognition and support of this transformational technology is expected to accelerate a more energy efficient, higher performing US-based technology for LEDs and a host of additional applications."

Osram develops LED module for historic street luminaires

Luminaires from any manufacturer can be simply and rapidly upgraded to LED technology using an adaptable LED module and mounting plate.
Osram's DSL module
Osram has developed an LED module to enable rapid upgrading of historic street luminaires. The decorative street lighting (DSL) module can be used for a wide variety of luminaires, independent of the original manufacturer. The module is prepared upon request so that fitting is as simple as replacing lamps or sockets.
Osram claims that, compared with mercury-vapor-discharge lamps, the DSL cuts energy consumption of luminaires by at least 60 per cent. Upgrading is less than half the cost of a new LED installation.

Standardized LED-based replacement modules are available for many luminaire models with modern designs, but this is not the case for non-standard heritage luminaires.

Street lighting application
Osram offers a service that begins with the lighting owner – such as a local authority or city council – sending a luminaire to Osram. A construction kit, consisting of an LED module and mounting plate, is adapted by Osram specifically for the luminaire in question. Then, an employee from the town's works department is able to install the module with the minimum of effort.
The second photo at right shows a luminaire containing the DSL module in Wipperfürth, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which consumes up to 60% less energy than when fitted with the original mercury vapour discharge lamps.

As well as offering improved energy efficiency and durability, the modules, which are fitted with Osram’s Oslon SSL LEDs, provide high levels of color rendering. The DSL also enables more targeted control of light compared to classic lighting, for example by choosing the correct number of LEDs in order to reduce light spill in certain circumstances.

Osram also notes that the integration of modern control units with intelligent light management can ensure further energy savings. For example, the company’s AstroDIM system enables luminaires to be dimmed completely self-sufficiently without use of a corresponding control line. In this way, between midnight and the early morning hours, lighting can be adapted to lower volumes of traffic to achieve supplementary energy savings.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cree demonstrates 170-lm/W LED retrofit lamp in lab

A concept LED retrofit lamp developed by Cree's R&D team achieves efficacy of 170 lm/W and the company will use that technology in its SSL luminaire family.
Using LEDs based on its third-generation silicon-carbide manufacturing platform, that Cree calls SC3, the company's engineers have designed and constructed a retrofit lamp that achieves 170-lm/W efficacy. Cree, at this point, isn't entering the lamp market but will channel the development work in LEDs, optics, drivers, and thermal management into its solid-state lighting (SSL) products.
Cree 170-lm/W concept lamp
To put the efficacy achievement in perspective, consider that the US Department of Energy (DOE) L Prize competition won by Philips only required efficacy above 90 lm/W. That said, the L Prize also required a warm color temperature, and that always comes with a penalty in efficacy. Cree didn't specify the color temperature of the concept lamp, but it's likely on the cool side.

This isn’t the first time that Cree has produced concept lamps. Back in January of last year, the company demonstrated a lamp design that at the time it said could meet Energy Star requirements for a 60W-equivalent design. That was before any such commercial products were on the market. The design used an inner remote-phosphor optic combined with an outer white diffuser. Later last year, Cree showed a concept lamp, similar in look to this latest development, that achieved 152 lm/W in efficacy.

The new concept lamp delivers 1250 lm, consuming 7.3W. To confirm the performance, Cree had independent lab OnSpeX test the product. The design uses Cree's TrueWhite technology to achieve 90 or better CRI.

"The technology embodied in the new 170-lm/W concept LED bulb is enabling us to develop higher-performance and lower-cost Cree LED luminaires," said Nick Medendorp, vice president of research and development at Cree Lighting. "By pushing the limits of what is possible, Cree continues to strive to develop new technology that uses less energy and provides unmatched light quality and value to our customers."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lighting Facts institutes QA testing, requires annual product updates

Beginning October 1, the LED Lighting Facts program will begin charging a fee for annual product listings. It has already begun quality assurance testing, which results in a green double-check mark on the label upon verification.
At the LED Show last week, Marci Sanders of D&R International, an environmental and energy efficiency consulting firm, presented an update of recent revisions to the Lighting Facts program aimed at further improving the integrity of products that carry the Lighting Facts label. The biggest change is that Lighting Facts will now require that manufacturers update the status of their listed products annually. Sanders explained, “As of October 1, 2012, any product that has been on the list for more than one year will have to be updated to assure whether it is available on the market and to give the opportunity to update performance changes that have taken place since the listing.”
Lighting Facts logo.
This change is designed to provide users better visibility into whether products containing the Lighting Facts label are commercially available, available through special order, or not available on the market.
Manufacturers will also need to pay an annual fee for its Lighting Facts listed products -- $100 for existing products or $150 for new products. This fee will be waived in the case of Energy Star qualified or products on the qualified product list of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC). The fee will also be waived for the first year if manufacturers volunteer to have their products quality assurance (QA) tested by Lighting Facts. Initially, only those products volunteered for testing by the manufacturers will be QA tested.

The new QA program involves testing of the product (LED lamp or luminaire) for the mandatory metrics listed on the Lighting Facts label as well as a variety of optional metrics. Lighting Facts will recommend a number of labs from which manufacturers can choose to have the testing done. Testing cost will be paid by the manufacturer. QA testing will be performed only by independent labs that are physically located in the US and are LED Lighting Facts Approved Lab Partners for IES LM-79 total flux and color testing as well as intensity distribution test procedures.

If a product tests within the tolerances of the metrics listed by the manufacturer on the label, the label will get a green double-check mark. “The green double-check designation is the first real way for manufacturers to differentiate products on the product list for Lighting Facts,” said Sanders. She added that if testing results in values different from those indicated by the manufacturer, the manufacturer will be given the opportunity to revise the values and still get the green double-check mark. Once the double-check mark is assigned, it will appear on that product for two years. A list of frequently asked questions and answers is available here.

Running tally of LED Lighting Facts partners.
Aside from providing fee waivers for Energy-Star and DLC qualified products, Lighting Facts is providing volume discounts to manufacturers who choose to list multiple products or to manufacturers that can provide full LM-79 data upon submission. In addition, QA tested products will also become part of the DOE’s Caliper database of benchmark tested products.
Sanders noted that 60 utilities in the US are Lighting Facts partners and provide information regarding product rebates on the Lighting Facts website. To date, over 5600 products from 406 manufacturers carry the Lighting Facts label, and partners include 75 energy efficiency program sponsors (EE sponsors), 265 retailers and distributors and 245 lighting professionals. Retailers, distributors, lighting professionals and EE sponsors do not need to pay any fees to participate in the Lighting Facts program.

In the coming weeks, Lighting Facts will hold a number of webinars to educate LED lighting manufacturers and users regarding the changes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

NTL Electronics announces one-year sales of 3 million LED retrofit lamps in India

NTL Electronics India Ltd has partnered with Lemnis Lighting to create the NTL Lemnis joint venture and push SSL deployment in India.
Typically replacing incandescent and compact-fluorescent lamps (CFLs), NTL Electronics India Ltd has revealed that it sold 3 million LED retrofit lamps between the beginning of July 2011 and the end of June 2012. NTL Electronics is a major Indian lighting vendor with the equivalent of more than $110 million in sales and that is pushing to expand its presence in the solid-state lighting (SSL) market.

NTL Electronics put its recent performance in perspective by noting that Strategies Unlimited (a sister business within PennWell Corp. to LEDs Magazine) estimated the global sales of retrofit lamps in 2011 to be just under 40 million. Clearly the time frames of the SU reported number and NTL's sales aren't identical, but the fact that NTL's results are close to 10% of the projection is impressive.

Back in April, NTL Electronics also formed a joint venture with Lemnis Lighting (The Netherlands) called NTL Lemnis. Lemnis has expertise in LED lamp design having sold LED retrofit lamps under its own name and through other partnerships. NTL Lemnis will seek to take advantage of what the partners see as growing demand in India.

"In our new company, NTL Lemnis, we have a renewed focus on LED lighting," said Arun Gupta, managing director of NTL Electronics India global CEO of NTL Lemnis. "Globally, LEDs are fast replacing any other form of lighting and we are convinced that it will be the same for India shortly.”

According to NTL Electronics, "The joint venture will look at producing the complete range of energy-efficient LED lighting products under the umbrella of the acclaimed Lemnis brand Pharox." The new feature will have a target focus on applications in retail, IT, hospitality, and healthcare.

Philips saves $1M/yr in energy cost with Ernst & Young NYC office lighting conversion

Philips Lighting has upgraded the Ernst & Young’s New York City headquarters building to LED lighting, saving $1 million annually in energy and maintenance costs, while reducing carbon emissions by 2 million pounds.
Ernst & Young LLP, a global consulting firm, has teamed with JAS consulting, Philips Lightolier Energy Services and lighting design firm One Lux Studio, to retrofit 32 floors of its US headquarters in New York City with LED lighting solutions from Philips Lighting. The new installation will save the company close to $1M per year in energy and maintenance costs, while reducing lighting energy use by 2.9 million kWh per year and reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 2 million pounds annually.
Team room before and after
“Over the past few years we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint from energy. This new lighting system will add an even greater reduction,” said Brent Summers, director, Americas Enterprise Support Services, Ernst & Young. He added, “Five Times Square is seeking an Energy Star rating, and the lighting work will be a large part of our application.”
The office lighting system, which serves 5200 employees, formerly consumed 6.2 million kWh annually. The team of JAS consulting, Philips Lightolier Energy Service Group and One Lux Studio selected customized LED fixtures, assessed lighting control systems and coordinated with the local labor union to ensure a smooth installation of lighting systems throughout the building’s open office areas, private offices, conference rooms and common areas. The team also identified utility rebates that allowed Ernst & Young to lower its upfront costs by more than 13%.

Cubical area before and after
“Ernst & Young has looked at the return-on-investment for their new lighting system and has seen that it gives them better light quality, a lot more control over their energy usage and reduces maintenance, making good business sense,” said Zia Eftekhar, chairman of Philips Lighting North America. “More and more forward-thinking businesses are looking at the long term value of their lighting investment and realizing that LED technology can lower their environmental impact and their electricity usage.”
In total, the new lighting system will reduce Ernst & Young LLP’s lighting-related energy and maintenance costs by more than 50% a year and its annual lighting energy use by 54%.

Stephen Marguiles, president of One Lux Studio added “Luminaires that were commonly used when this project was originally designed were not necessarily very efficient. The new equipment optimized LED and fluorescent efficacies, as well as ensuring light levels were ‘right sized’ for each space type.”

LRC issues report on LED lighting for airfields

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has published a report to help guide airports as they consider LED lighting for various needs around an airfield.
The new report, "Issues with use of LED airfield lighting: ACRP synthesis 35," published by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, concludes that reduced maintenance cost is the primary benefit for airports considering a move to LED lighting in the airfield. Energy savings are secondary in part because airfield electrical systems are designed for incandescent loads.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies published the LRC-authored report in conjunction with the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) which funded the study. The LRC has also long worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on ways to take advantage of solid-state lighting (SSL) technology on airfields.

John Bullough, senior research scientist and adjunct professor at the LRC, authored the report. "LED airfield lighting uses much less energy than incandescent, but airfield electrical systems are optimized for incandescent lamps, not LEDs," said Bullough. "Even more energy can be saved if electrical systems are designed with the reduced loads of LEDs in mind."

Other findings of the report include the fact that the visibility and performance of LED lighting on airfields is generally good. Early on in the development of LED lighting there were what the report called "compatibility problems" with SSL and airfields but those have been overcome.

The research was based on detailed surveys of 22 airports and aviation agencies. The report speculates that despite high upfront costs, the installation of LEDs will generally payback in "several years." An upgrade of the electrical infrastructure can increase energy efficiency and reliability of airfield lighting systems. According to the LRC, the FAA is now investigating new infrastructures for airfield lighting.

Osram solder pad design enables two different LED types to be accommodated on one board

A new uniform and flexible solder-pad design for LED boards enables customers to use two different LED types together, which simplifies second sourcing.
Osram Opto Semiconductors has developed a new solder pad design that enables two different LED types to be accommodated on a single circuit board.

The uniform solder pad design, which accommodates ceramic LED components such as Osram’s Oslon series, makes it easier for customers to use LEDs from different manufacturers. By facilitating second sourcing, this reduces the costs of storage and process modifications for the customer.
Christian Gärtner, Oslon Project Manager in Product Development, General Lighting at Osram Opto Semiconductors, summed up the benefits as follows: “The concept for a flexible solder pad design gives our customers the freedom to incorporate a second source for our high-power LED components without having to suffer restrictions due to mechanical parameters.”
Second sourcing is standard practice for LED components because of the greater security of supply, but LEDs from different manufacturers generally differ in terms of their dimensions and the shape of their solder pads. Generally, this means that two boards are needed for LEDs from two different manufacturers. This drives up costs for storing the boards and also for modifying the process for LED mounting.

With Osram Opto’s combined board design, the individual solder surfaces are divided into segments, some electrically connected and some electrically disconnected.

After attaching the first LED, a second LED with a different pad layout can be rotated by 90 degrees and then attached to the same board. As a result, the anodes and cathodes of the two LED components are connected to the same electrically-contacted segments.

The two LED types automatically align themselves to the edges of the solder surfaces during the reflow solder process. For both LED components, the luminous area is in the same lateral position on the board. If the LEDs have the same emission behavior the same secondary lenses and reflectors can be used. This means that neither the LED components nor the end application are changed in terms of their characteristics.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

NXP improves control of LED ambient lighting solutions for the car

The new UJA1018 from NXP simplifies the configuration of interior LED lighting, and offers car manufacturers and consumers great customization options.
Ambient LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular in the automotive industry, and car manufacturers are using it as a differentiator to enhance the driving experience. The use of LED technology enables OEMs to emphasize their car brand via the color and styling of the interior lighting, while car dealers can offer consumers the option of customizing the lighting settings.
Ambient lighting (photo courtesy of Hella)
NXP Semiconductors, the Eindhoven, Netherlands-based semiconductor company, has introduced a new compact integrated product that supports cost-efficient and flexible LED ambient lighting applications in vehicles.
The video at the bottom of this page explains the operation of a typical communication network within a vehicle and how it can control the various LED modules, enabling them to change color, dim or perform other functions.

The UJA1018 is designed for LIN networks (Local Interconnect Networks) and is the first ASSP (Application Specific Standard Product) for ambient lighting with Node Position Detection. This enables LIN addresses of LED modules to be individually programmed and configured after being installed in the car.

Currently, interior LED modules are programmed during the module manufacturing process. The approach enabled by NXP’s new product offers new levels of flexibility while drastically reducing manufacturing logistics and costs.

UJA1018 in compact HVSON package
Herbert Wambsganss, head of development at Hella Interior Lighting Systems commented: “The UJA1018 enables Hella to introduce a very compact LED ambient lighting solution that fits every interior location. The Node Position Detection by means of the integrated LIN switch allows configuration of each ambient lighting module once mounted in the car. Thus, all modules in the car can be kept the same, which allows a high level of reuse and greatly simplifies the logistics.”
UJA1018 details

The UJA1018 integrates all analog functions to create a compact ambient-lighting solution, including LIN transceiver, LIN switch for Node Position Detection, voltage regulator for microcontroller and drivers for 3-color LED. In addition, the compact HVSON package enables the creation of small form-factor modules. The UJA1018 fulfills the robustness requirements from the OEMs and also meets the SAE J2602 and LIN conformance.

“With the UJA1018 and its unique Node Position Detection technology based on LIN switch, NXP enables car OEMs to offer personalized ambient-lighting solutions to end consumers. At the same time it saves system costs and simplifies logistics for both OEMs and Tier1 suppliers”, says Toni Versluijs, general manager of In-Vehicle Networking, NXP Semiconductors. “This underpins our leadership position as the de-facto In-Vehicle Network solution provider and our commitment to connect the car in present and in future”.

Seoul city plans to install more LED lights

Korea’s capital intends to invest in more LED lighting for public areas and to encourage further installations in the private sector.
Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced plans to replace lighting in all public areas including subway stations, streets and city government offices with LED lighting by 2018.
According to an article in the Korea Herald, Seoul wants to increase the proportion of LED lighting in both public places and private properties to cut energy consumption and aid the “green” lighting industry.

Seoul city government also said that it will expand the project to the private sector by 2030. It expects that, by 2014, about 800,000 LED lights will be installed in the public sector.

A further 7 million LED lights will be installed in the private sector by 2014. According to Seoul city’s estimates, the changes will save 1100 gigawatts or 120 billion won ($105 million) a year.

The metropolitan government also plans to build a smart lighting grid by 2014, comprising of 1.32 million energy-efficient street lights.

To encourage installations in the private sector, the city will run a loan program offering up to 1 billion won ($0.87 million) with a 2.5 percent interest rate.

DOE Caliper Report verifies high-performing BR30 and R30 LED lamps

The latest Caliper report compares 13 LED-based BR30 and R30 lamps to incandescent and CFL products, noting that Energy Star criterion were met in most of the critical performance areas.
As part of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Caliper program, the DOE has published its latest Caliper Report, Series 16, which involved the testing of LED-based BR30 and R30 lamps. These directional lamps were purchased in March 2012 and are typically used in residential applications.

The summary report, available for download at the DOE SSL website, indicates that the13 LED products tested could be effective replacements for the bulbs they were benchmarked against, one 65W incandescent BR30, one 15W CFL R30, and one 16W CFL BR30. In fact, most of the LED-based lamps met or exceeded Energy Star requirements for efficacy, light output, CRI, CCT, power factor and beam angle distribution. However, the report noted that cost still remains a critical barrier to LED replacement-lamp adoption.

The performance of the Series 16 products can be summarized as follows:

• The lumen output of many of the products was equivalent to 65W or 75W incandescent BR30/R30 lamps. All of the products emitted between 460 and 860 lm, which is within the typical range of conventional BR30 and R30 lamps.

• All of the Series 16 LED products exceeded 51 lm/W in efficacy, which is greater than the Energy Star criterion of 45 lm/W (Fig. 1). However, the two most efficacious products also had CCTs above 5000K.

• The Series 16 LED BR30/R30 lamps had luminous intensity distributions ranging from very narrow to very wide.

• Ten of the LED products had a nominal CCT of 2700K or 3000K, which matches typical incandescent and CFL BR30/R30 lamps.

• The power factor of the lamps was considerably better than previously tested LED BR30/R30 lamps, with 12 LED products exceeding the Energy Star minimum requirement of 0.70 at >5W.

In general, the results showed substantial improvement versus earlier Caliper testing of similar products. The report also indicates the need for a broader range of LED lamps within product families in terms of lumen output and distribution type. It also questions the adequacy of existing reflector lamp categories for LED products.

The DOE has selected particular products for testing with the intent of capturing the current state of the market, a cross section ranging from expected low- to high-performing products, with the group designed to reflect the average of the range. Other recent Caliper Reports have benchmarked the performance of LED floodlights (Series 15) and LED downlights (Series 14) against conventional products.

Detailed test results for Series 16 will be available soon through the searchable online Caliper system.

Avnet opens LED test lab to support customer product development

Fully equipped LED-centric Avnet LightLab allows customers to characterize LEDs, modules, light engines, and SSL lamps and luminaires.
Avnet Electronics Marketing has opened a new 900-ft2 LED-centric test lab in Chandler, Arizona that it calls Avnet LightLab. The lab allows Avnet's customer to characterize LEDs and solid-state lighting (SSL) products in terms of optical, electrical, and thermal performance.

Among other equipment in the lab, Avnet installed two integrating spheres, a spectroradiometer, and a goniophotometer for optical tests. The integrating spheres can measure total luminous flux and spectral power distributions of light sources ranging from individual LEDs to SSL luminaires.

The goniophotometer can measure light intensity relative to beam angle of LEDs or modules/light engines. Moreover, it can be used to characterize the combination of an LED source and secondary optics. The spectroradiometer is used in conjunction with the other tools to capture spectral power distribution.

Thermal analysis in LightLab

George Kelly, Avnet technical specialist and LightLab manager, said that the lab "substantially reduces our customers’ design time and provides a means to weigh various design option -ultimately optimizing their end-products’ performance and extending their competitive edge."

Avnet said that it will perform "all photometric, radiometric and colorimetric testing" based on specifications prescribed by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). Typical tests and characterizations will include color rendering index (CRI), optical efficiency, source and system efficacy, total flux output, and thermal analysis and mapping.

The new US-based LightLab is similarly equipped and focused as the LightLab that Avnet EBV Elektronik opened this past February near Munich, Germany.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Osram and LG receive initial judgment in LED patent case

The International Trade Commission has found that various LED products from LG infringe one of Osram’s patents.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued an initial determination in the complaint filed by Osram GmbH against various LG group companies.
Osram filed the complaint against LG in June 2011, and also filed a separate complaint against Samsung. These ITC complaints were followed by several other lawsuits between Osram and LG, and between Osram and Samsung.

The judge’s initial determination said that LG’s accused products infringe the asserted claims 1,3,4, 6, 8, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 32, 33, and 34 of US patent no. 7,151,283. This patent relates to phosphor conversion for white LEDs.

However, LG’s accused products were found not to infringe various claims of Osram’s US patent no. 7,271,425, which relates to reducing the risk of thermomechanically-induced failures of LED components.

Also, there was no evidence to show that any of the asserted claims in the above mentioned patents are invalid.

The judge’s findings will be assessed by the full commission, according to a Bloomberg article, which quoted an LG spokesperson as saying the company would fight the infringement ruling.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Seoul Semiconductor claims 5x lumen density with non-polar LEDs (Updated)

Seoul Semiconductor has announced that it will introduce LEDs based on non-polar technology, which it claims will deliver over 5x the lumens per unit area of conventional LEDs.
Seoul Semiconductor, an LED manufacturer based in Seoul, Korea, has unveiled a new LED product based on non-polar gallium nitride (GaN) technology, which it states "will deliver 5x the brightness per unit area of die than conventional LEDs by driving the LEDs at higher current densities." At the same time, the University of California (UC) in Santa Barbara has received a $500,000 endowment from Seoul Optodevice Company and James Speck has been named the campus's first Seoul Optodevice Chair in Solid State Lighting.
Non-polar GaN

Conventional vs. nPola
Non-polar technology involves the utilization of the one of the non-polar planes in the GaN crystal, either the a-plane or m-plane, whereas traditional LEDs currently utilize the polar c-plane. Non-polar LEDs offer the potential of reduced electrical resistance, increased electrical efficiency, reduction in color shifting with varying operating current, and smaller device size.
Seoul Semiconductor’s patented nPola approach has been under development for over 10 years. According to the company, the lumen density of its LEDs has been dramatically improved by 5x over the conventional LED based on equivalent die surface area and it expects to further improve this margin to 10x with future implementations.

With this approach, Seoul Semiconductor claims that fewer LEDs are needed to achieve a given light output per replacement bulb. For example, in a 60W-equivalent LED lamp, generally 10-20 LED packages are used, but with the nPola product, the same light output could be achieved using 1-2 packages. Seoul also claims that while the luminous flux of a power chip LED in mass production is approximately 100 lm (warm white) today, this new product could produce 500 lm by driving the LED at higher current densities.

Seoul Semiconductor CEO, Chung Hoon Lee, expressed strong confidence in the new product by saying "I've worked very hard for the past 20 years in this industry and it is safe to say that this new product is the culmination of 20 years of core technologies development. It is a major milestone for the LED light source."

UC Santa Barbara receives $500,000 for Endowed Chair

UC Santa Barbara's Solid State Lighting & Energy Center (SSLEC), a provider of leading-edge research in energy-efficient lighting, power electronics, and solar energy technology, has received a $500,000 endowment from Seoul Optodevice Company to further its research on GaN for use in electronics and solid-state lighting (SSL).

James Speck, a professor of materials at UCSB, member of SSLEC's Executive Committee, and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors, has been named the campus's first Seoul Optodevice Chair in Solid State Lighting.

Jim Speck
"Mr. Chung Hoon Lee and the Seoul Optodevice Company are leaders in the field, and have been longstanding supporters of UC Santa Barbara's Solid State Lighting and Energy Center, which is advancing the frontiers of research in energy-efficient solid-state lighting, and helping to create a more sustainable future for us all," said Chancellor Henry Yang. "We are deeply grateful for their vision and generosity in establishing the Seoul Optodevice Chair in Solid State Lighting, and we are very proud that Professor Jim Speck will be the inaugural chair holder."
"This endowment by Seoul Optodevice Company is critically important because our research in gallium nitride semiconductors places the college at the forefront of energy efficiency technology," said Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering. "Professor Speck is leading this charge and understands how our relationship with industry is a driving force behind discoveries in solid state lighting."

Speck's research focuses on the relationship between thin-film electronic materials growth, and microstructure, as well as the link between microstructure and physical properties. In 2010, he received the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award for his work on nonpolar and semipolar GaN-based materials and devices.

White Sox ballpark swaps T12s for PolyBrite LED panel fixtures

US Cellular Field, the ballpark of the Chicago White Sox, has been updated with 2x2-ft LED panel fixtures.
US Cellular Field, owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and home of the Chicago White Sox, has replaced outdated lighting fixtures with PolyBrite Borealis LED Panel Lights in concession stands and workstations throughout the ballpark. With up to 2.9 million fans passing through the hallways of ballpark annually, LED panel fixtures are designed to improve the appearance, safety and security of busy areas.

“These lights far surpassed my expectations as soon as they were installed in the first few stands,” said Don Esposito, senior director of purchasing and construction for the Chicago White Sox. “This will have quite an impact on our fans and employees, definitely enhancing the appearance of the concessions and increasing work productivity.”
PolyBrite replaced the T12 U-Bend fluorescent tubes, which consume 78W per fixture, with Borealis 2x2 LED Flat Panels, which consume 50W per fixture. Cool-white panels were used in the concourse areas, while warm-white panels were installed in back rooms and workstations.

Borealis LED panel lighting is designed to replace fluorescent and incandescent lights in standard drop ceiling and surface mount fixtures. A highly reflective diffusion lens produces a soft, consistent light, ensuring uniform light distribution without glare or pixilation. The panels are dimmable, meet NEMA codes, and include Lighting Facts verified product.

PolyBrite introduced its latest Borealis line of LED lamps at Lightfair International in May, which includes A19, B10, PAR38, PAR30, R20, MR16 lamps, T8 linear tube and flat-panel lighting fixtures.

Smithsonian installs more LED lamps with 16-month ROI

A DOE Gateway report covering an LED track-lighting retrofit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum has detailed lamp selection, technical challenges, overall savings, and return on investment.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has published the final evaluation report from a retrofit of track lighting at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. During the demonstration, LED PAR-30 and MR-16 lamps replaced all traditional incandescent lamps in one gallery and LED PAR-38 and MR-16 lamps partially replaced incandescent lamps in two other galleries.
This Gateway demonstration report, which describes the selection and testing process, technology challenges, perceptions, economics, and energy use, is available for download at The lighting designer presented mixed results of using LED replacement lamps in art galleries that housing national treasures.

Key findings from the study include:

The museum was able to achieve very satisfactory visual results in terms of both color and composition with LED lamps, despite some issues with equivalency, beam angles, and compatibility with the museum's low-voltage track heads and dimming control system. The museum's incandescent lamps could not be replaced one-for-one, but the variety of LED lamps available offered new opportunities to tailor the lighting effects for the specific art works.
Power use in the gallery completely re-lamped with LEDs decreased from 3.9 to 1.1 W/ft2, reducing electricity costs from $2984 to $816 per year and recovering the higher initial cost of the LEDs in 16 months of operation through energy savings alone.
The longer expected life of LEDs considerably reduces spot re-lamping frequency and cost. A 10-year life-cycle cost analysis including maintenance savings, at $0.14/kWh melded electric rate, found a total present value energy savings of $19,041, with a total present value life-cycle cost savings of $27,891.
Samples of three LED replacement lamp types used in one gallery were sent for baseline photometric testing and are scheduled for follow-up testing after 4000, 8000, and 12,000 hours of use. The PAR-30 lamps tested at 4000 hours remained very stable in terms of color and moderately stable in terms of light output, but the MR-16 LED lamps exhibited unacceptable change in terms of lumen output and color.
In addition to the technical details of the installation, the report includes the lighting designer's lessons learned and wish list for LED museum lighting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cree applies latest LED technology, delivers XP-G2 in legacy footprint

Cree has rolled out the new XLamp XP-G2 LED family, which is directly compatible with the prior XP-G components, including optics designed for those components, and which is based on the company's third-generation manufacturing-technology platform.
Solid-state lighting (SSL) product developers have used the Cree XP-G in a wide variety of products ranging from street lights to flashlights, and now have the brighter more-efficient XLamp XP-G2 family that can drop into those designs. The XP-G2 is compatible with optics and reflectors designed for the prior family, yet is manufactured using Cree's third-generation silicon-carbide-based platform that it has branded SC3.

The benefits of the new products are easily summarized. Cree product marketing manager Paul Scheidt said, "It's 20% more lumens and lumens per watt." SSL manufacturers can substitute the new LEDs and get brighter products. Or, they can perform minor redesigns and reduce the number of LEDs required to produce equivalent lumen output.

"We have many designs using Cree’s XLamp XP-G LED," said William Weiss, partner and director of technology at MSi Solid State Lighting. "The new XP-G2 allows us to take full advantage of the benefits of Cree’s latest technology without any significant design changes, improving time to market."
Simpler Energy Star
Being a successor to the XP-G family, the new family does bring benefits in terms of LM-80 testing as well. The XP-G2 requires only 3000 hours of LM-80 data to meet Energy Star requirements, and that will also speed time to market.

In addition to updated specs, Cree made some other important changes. The XP-G2 is being specified both at 25°C and hot 85°C operating temperatures in terms of lumen and color output. In cool white at 350 mA of current, the XP-G2 delivers efficacy of 151 lm/W at 85°C and 165 lm/W at 25°C.

At the hot temperature, the family can deliver 139 lm in cool white and 114 lm in warm white, both at 350 mA. Currents up to 1.5A are supported and Cree will offer a broad range of CCT and CRI options.

Cree offered several examples of how the new family might be applied. A flashlight based on XP-G LEDs that delivered 320 lm could produce 385 lm with the same beam pattern using XP-G2 LEDs.

Brighter or cheaper?
Still, the SSL product makers will have to determine whether they use the new product to increase light output or to reduce power and cost. Cree's Scheidt used an existing XP-G-based PAR38 retrofit lamp as an example. The 7-LED design produces 925 lm at 59 lm/W with XP-G LEDs. Cree substituted XP-G2 components and measured 1270 lm at 79 lm/W. In Energy Star parlance, the former would be an 88W equivalent while the latter would be a 112W equivalent based on the Center Beam Candle Power (CBCP) tool available on the Energy Star website.

The brighter design mentioned above could be realized with little change or, according to Scheidt, the lamp maker could go from 7 LEDs to 3 and realize a product that delivers 969 lm at 62 lm/W and 90W equivalence. The drive current would need to be ramped to do so, but efficacy remains essentially unchanged. In such a redesign, the product developer could use the same individual total internal reflection (TIR) lenses developed for the earlier XP-G LEDs, although some mechanical and perhaps optical changes would be necessary.

Of course it's fair to ask how Cree positions the 3.45×3.45-mm XP-G2 LEDs relative to other similarly sized LEDs based on the SC3 platform. Scheidt said that the XT-E family at 3.45×3.45 mm and the XB-D family at 2.45×2.45 mm are still Cree's primary offering for maximizing lumens per dollar. Both were announced earlier this year.

With the XP-G2, Scheidt said the goal was to "make SC3 available in a form factor that's compatible with our older products." Apparently, the XT-E isn't compatible with existing XP-G optics due to some changes in the XT-E's chip structure and package that maximize light extraction. XP-G2 brings the main benefits of the latest platform with optic compatibility.

Soitec and Silian partner on HVPE LED template-wafer manufacturing

Soitec and Silian will jointly develop GaN LED template-wafer manufacturing technology using an HVPE process that the companies say can lower component costs and spur SSL deployment.
Soitec (Bernin, France) and Silian (Chongqing Silian Optoelectronics Science & Technology Co based in Chongqing, China) are partnering to use a hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) process to build gallium nitride (GaN) template wafers that the companies say will result in lower-cost LEDs, and help accelerate the adoption of solid-state lighting (SSL). Making the template wafers using a faster, lower-cost HVPE process will presumably free LED makers to focus their metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) tools on the LED layers that are optimized for light extraction.

The partnership aims to validate the template wafer capability using Silian's sapphire substrates and Soitec's HVPE technology, and deliver template wafers to customers later this year. The template wafers are partially processed and must be finished using traditional MOVPE tools.

"Our strategy was to use production-proven silicon epitaxy equipment features and add our innovative gallium source and delivery system to create a high-productivity HVPE equipment," said Chantal Arena, vice president and general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs. "We then successfully developed high growth rate processes that, combined with our low cost precursor, leads to a more cost effective GaN template than the ones produced by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy."

Soitec president and CEO André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé beieves that delivering template wafers can free up 60% of MOVPE capacity for some LED makers. He added, "LED makers can now focus on improving the more custom-designed layers that make up the light-emitting part of an LED" using that free MOVPE capacity.

"Silian is excited to work with Soitec and adopt its HVPE technology," said David Reid, COO of Silian. "With our extensive sapphire substrate manufacturing expansion activities in China, we are very well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and offer these high quality templates in a cost effective manner to our sapphire substrate customers."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cree provides LEDs for major municipal street-lighting project in China

A major lighting project in the Beibei district of Chongqing involves more than 20,000 LED street lights, 1.9 million Cree LEDs, and an intelligent lighting-control system.
An installation of more than 20,000 LED street lights was recently completed in the Beibei district of Chongqing, China. The installation includes nearly 16 miles of highway, with LED-based luminaires installed along 119 streets and one tunnel.

LED street lights were engineered by Chongqing Silian Optoelectronics Science and Technology Corporation (Silian), a leading LED lighting company in China. The luminaires contain a total of 1.9 million XLamp XP-E and XP-G LEDs from Cree (Nasdaq:CREE).
The project, which is described as China’s “largest municipal intelligent lighting control project,” began in July 2011. Officials estimate the installation will result in annual maintenance and electricity savings of more than RMB 19.5 million (approximately USD 3 million) and 17.6 million kWh.

Cree is no stranger to large street-lighting projects in China: In October 2011, the LED maker announced that it had supplied more than one million LEDs for over 10,000 street lights installed byKingsun Optoelectronic Co. Ltd. in Shenzhen.

The Municipal Bureau of the Beibei district initiated the project to improve the living environment for local citizens and to meet China’s stringent roadway lighting requirements for light efficacy, brightness, luminance, heat dissipation and service lifespan.

The new LED lighting replaced antiquated sodium-vapor street lighting along the Yuwu Highway, extending from Chongqing to Wusheng.
Silian developed and manufactured the intelligent lighting control system, which features an advanced wireless network management system that detects lighting issues with sensors and can adjust the brightness of the LED street lights in accordance with vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow.

“We are very pleased with the performance of Cree’s XLamp LEDs in our luminaire systems,” said David Reid, chief operating officer of Silian. “Cree LEDs emit high-quality light with low heat dissipation that meets China’s lighting standards while saving the municipality millions of Renmenbi.”

“Cree LEDs are perfect for large-scale lighting projects such as the Beibei District installation,” said Tang Guoqing, senior advisor, Cree Hong Kong Limited. “Designed to last more than 50,000 hours, Cree XLamp LEDs offer the high efficiency and easy integration with intelligent lighting systems needed to reduce overall costs while providing beautiful light.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cree and SemiLEDs end LED patent litigation

Cree has prevailed in its LED patent dispute with SemiLEDs, with the latter company agreeing to an injunction preventing sale of the offending LED products from October, as well as paying damages.
Two rival LED makers, Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) and SemiLEDs Corporation (Nasdaq:LEDS), have agreed to end their respective patent infringement litigation against each other.
Cree appears to have prevailed in the dispute. As part of the settlement, SemiLEDs has agreed to make a one-time payment to Cree for past damages.

SemiLEDs also agreed to an injunction, effective October 1, 2012, that prohibits the importation and sale of SemiLEDs' accused products in the United States.

The parties have agreed to withdraw the remaining claims. This is without prejudice to the right of both parties to assert their respective claims in the future.

“The resolution emphasizes the breadth and importance of Cree’s patent portfolio and its determination to ensure that Cree’s intellectual property rights are respected,” stated Julio Garceran, chief intellectual property counsel, Cree.

In April 2011, Cree filed a complaint against SemiLEDs in North Carolina. This claimed infringement of six US patents owned by Cree: no. 7,737,459, no. 7,211,833, no. 7,611,915, no. 6,657,236, no. 7,795,623, and no. 7,557,380.

Cree said that SemiLEDs has infringed each of the above patents by offering for sale, selling, using, and/or importing LED chips and LED components, including those under the product family name MvpLED.

In August 2011, SemiLEDs filed a complaint against Cree in Delaware. This alleged infringement by Cree of US patents no. 7,615,789, no. 7,646,033 and no. D580,888.

"The conclusion of the disputes between SemiLEDs and Cree will allow us to now focus our full resources on developing our business and serving our customers. We continue to innovate and are introducing to the market an exciting, new line of LED products," said Adam Lin, VP of Business Development and General Counsel of SemiLEDs Corporation.