• Ultraviolet light-emitting diode maker Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETi) of Columbia, SC, USA has achieved what it reckons are record efficiencies for UV LEDs operating in the germicidal UV-C range of 11% external quantum efficiency (EQE) with a corresponding wall-plug efficiency (WPE) of 8%. The result was achieved under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Compact Mid-Ultraviolet Technology (CMUVT) program and in collaboration with the US Army Research Laboratories (ARL).

    SETi says that its latest development represents more than a five-fold improvement in performance, due mainly to improved light extraction from encapsulated LED chips with a novel transparent p-region and a reflective contact and further reductions in defect density in the LED structure, grown on sapphire substrates.

    Traditionally, UV LEDs have been manufactured with gallium nitride (GaN) p-type layers, due to the difficulties of p-doping AlGaN materials. However, GaN absorbs light with wavelengths shorter than 365nm, and hence reduces the extraction efficiency of UV LEDs operating at short wavelengths. So, instead, SETi has developed a completely new p-type region using doped AlGaN, which is transparent, even in the UVC range. This coupled, with a transparent p-contact, significantly increases extraction efficiencies.

    SETi has also further developed its migration-enhanced metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MEMOCVD)  growth process to reduce dislocation densities in the quantum well structure of UV LEDs grown on sapphire substrates, demonstrating threading dislocation densities (TDD) of less than 2×108, as measured by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). This improvement in TDD has led to a high internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of 60%.

    The milestone represents “a major step forward in reaching efficiencies of incumbent technologies, such as medium-pressure mercury vapor lamps, which typically operate at efficiencies of 15% or less,” says SETi’s president & CEO Dr Remis Gaska.

    The 350um x 350um encapsulated LEDs were designed for emission at 278nm and measured at ARL, where they were reported to emit 9.8mW at 20mA (the highest output power ever reported for an LED with a wavelength shorter than 365nm at this forward current) and 30mW at 100mA. Details will be presented at the IEEE Photonics Society’s Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics in San Jose, CA, USA .

    SETi has previously reported LED-based water treatment systems that disinfect (with a more than 4 log reduction) drinking water flowing at 0.5 liters per minute with less than 35mW of optical power at 275nm. SETi reckons that the results from its latest development put UV LED disinfection systems within reach of consumer markets for applications such as point-of-use water purification, reckons SETi.

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  • The HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275 multifunction printer has been touted by HP as one of the first printers that can capture images of 3D objects. While it’s an excellent device in terms of print quality, one does have to wonder if HP really has reinvented the wheel.

    The first impression of the HP TopShot LaserJet Pro is that it doesn’t look like a conventional printer. It impresses with its stylish black exterior, slick design and touch-screen tablet interface, used to control printing and scanning. The device is compact, small in dimension, yet deceivingly heavy and requires two people to carry it.

    The TopShot scans and prints anything from everyday documents to 3D objects. The printer can be connected wirelessly and can also be connected to HP’s Business Apps store. It’s very user-friendly and functions at a touch of a button on the printer’s touch-screen.

    The top of the printer has a camera arm, which includes an optical lens, a high-resolution image sensor and three LED lights that capture an image. Putting it to the test, it scanned, or more accurately, took a photograph of an object and printed it in a high-definition and true-to-scale image.

    The TopShot has a camera embedded in a hinged arm that can be positioned above an object and captures six photographs of said object. These separate shots, taken from several angles, are combined to produce a single shot of the entire image.

    Through testing various objects, I discovered that the printer produces better quality images with objects that are solid and not too shiny. The images produced were very detailed with high-definition colour. However, it failed to print glass or mirrored objects. The lighting from the LED flashes was very strong and, in some cases, resulted in over-exposed images, particularly when scanning reflective surfaces.

    The TopShot printed and made copies of images very rapidly; however, taking a photograph of an object with a camera or smartphone and plugging it into a PC or laptop and printing it produces the same picture. But the quality of the images, and the fact that it can print to scale, is what differentiates the TopShot.

    One of the biggest advantages of the printer is that it eliminates any background detail from the scan, and leaves only a picture of the object itself, which few scanners in the past have been able to achieve.

    The device also has the capability to post images directly onto online storage sites using the HP software included with the printer. It comes with HP ePrint, which lets the user connect the printer to a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone, enabling the user to print from anywhere.

    The TopShot can print on a wide range of paper sizes, from 76×127mm to 216×356mm. It can also scan and print business cards.

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  • LED firms, from upstream chip manufacturers to downstream packaging manufacturers, all saw sales growth in March, posing challenges for the traditional lighting market.

    Leading LED chip manufacturer, Epistar, saw revenues in March at NT$1.436 billion (US$48.6 million), the company’s highest level in eight months. Although that number is a 15.44% drop compared to the same period during 2011, it is a 21.16% growth over February. The company has order visibility to the end of May and predicts its capacity utilization rate will reach 90% in April.

    Leading downstream packaging manufacturer, Everlight, reported revenue at NT$1.376 billion (US$46.6 million), giving the company a 12.7% monthly growth rate and hitting the highest in nine months, despite the number being 5.75% lower compared with the same period in 2011. Everlight said its capacity utilization rate is around 60-70% at present but predicts that number will increase to 70-80% in the second quarter with backlighting and other lighting products becoming more in demand.

    In addition, Ledtech saw its consolidated revenues in March at NT$166 million (US$5.6 million), a 52.96% increase compared with the company’s NT$109 million (US$3.7 million) revenues in February. The sum was the company’s highest in 20 months due to increased demand for low-temperature LED lighting and commercial lighting.

    Bright LED Electronics reported NT$322 million (US$10.9 million) in revenue during March with a monthly growth rate of 23.07%, but a decrease of 22.01% on year. But Bright said with increased demand for street lamps it is optimistic growth will continue in the second quarter and that its capacity utilization rate will increase to 90%, making it a possibility to see sales grow by 20% more compared with the first quarter.

    As an authorized Clean Green Nation partner, Valorie will provide top-quality green products and services to consumers throughout the region. She specializes in solar power, wind, LED lighting, energy efficient products and green living education. One of Valorie’s main objectives will be to shed light on permaculture trends in Iowa, giving energy conscious individuals the opportunity to become informed on green trends in their area.

    Moreover, Edison saw its March revenues at NT$213 million (US$7.2 million), a monthly increase of 8.83% and a yearly decrease of 17.29%. Edison stated the increase is due to increased demand in the LED backlighting market during the first quarter, but that still represents a decrease from the same time period last year.

    Meanwhile, LED chip manufacturer Tekcore also saw its revenues increase to NT$173 million (US$5.9 million) in March, giving the company a monthly increase of 30.94%. However, the company saw a 43.84% decline in revenues compared to what it reported in the same period of 2011, the largest decline compared to any other Taiwan chip manufacturer.

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  • With its products increasingly recognized by local governments and partners in China, the Taiwan-based AcBel Polytech Inc., a power supply maker who has actively ventured into LED lightings in recent years, may see its LED lighting business grow explosively this year.

    AcBel confirmed that its LED indoor and outdoor lighting products have been accepted by two large-sized Chinese LED lighting suppliers, and the two partners will contract it as a production arm to jointly explore the Chinese market in the near future. This will surely help the Taiwanese company to build a considerable outlet for its LED lighting products.

    Meanwhile, after being chosen by the local government of Guangdong Province, southeastern China, as one of designated suppliers of officially subsidized LED streetlights, the company has also reportedly garnered orders for such products from local clients to secure robust growth momentum for its LED lighting business this year.

    Witnessing AcBel’s LED lightings well received in China along with robust market demand for cloud computing applications and consumer electronics worldwide, David Kao, general manager of the company, has expressed his optimism about an auspicious year in 2012. Kao said at an investor conference held earlier that his company is very likely to see its business operations surge quarter by quarter to peak in the third quarter of the year, with the growth to be mainly led by growing shipments of cloud computing applications, LED lightings and smart grids.

    Kao furthered that his company, which has run at a full capacity throughout the first quarter, has adjusted upward its projection for annual revenue growth rate to more than 10% for this year, despite an uncertain global economy.

    The company scored combined revenue of NT$20.36 billion and net profits of NT$610 million in 2011, up 1.6% and down 37.4%, respectively, from a year ago, with EPS (earnings per share) of NT$1.2.

    Luminus Devices, Inc., the manufacturer of Big Chip LEDs, has announced two important certifications for its Massachusetts facilities. ISO 14001:2004 recognizes the company’s ability to meet rigorous international criteria in the management of environmental and sustainability processes. OHSAS 18001:2007 is awarded to companies meeting occupational health and safety management system specifications. The company is also ISO 9001:2008 certified for quality management processes and has recently been accredited to the ISO 17025:2005 laboratory standard.

    “Our team has worked hard to become a great company, in addition to manufacturing some of the most unique and energy-efficient LEDs in the world. We are equally proud that this is a healthy and safe place to work,” declared Keith T.S. Ward, President and CEO of Luminus. “I believe these new certifications, integrated into our quality management systems, demonstrate with clarity to customers that they will receive superior, innovative products made by people from a company dedicated to global professional standards as well as the environment.”

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  • After the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) revolution in Kerala, another energy saving initiative, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs would be installed in all the street lights in Kerala.

    As part of the initiative, a technical specification would be issued by the Energy Management Centre (EMC). To study the specification, a pilot project would be implemented in 65 areas in all the Corporations and municipalities.

    EMC director Dharesan Unnithan said that tenders have been floated for the pilot project and several prominent companies have expressed interest in the project. Samples have been given by these companies and it is in the process of finding out the energy saved by the LED bulbs and the light produced by the device.

    “The samples will be tested and it will be installed in the KSEB poles within two months. The functioning of these street lights would be monitored by EMC and it would finalise a technical specification,” he said.

    The specifications would be issued within six months which would be given to all the local bodies in the state. The conversion of the conventional street light system to LED will take place in a phased manner.

    In the first step, 100 LED bulbs would be given to each local body which will be installed in selected streets.

    After the installation, the monitoring process will be conducted mainly on the intensity of light and its effects in the long run.

    When a government agency like EMC comes out with the specification it will be easy for the local bodies to implement the project. The LED concept would help in reducing the power consumption along with the duration of the device which can have life of 50,000 hours. It is pointed out that LED bulbs could save more than 50 per cent of the consumption when compared to ordinary tube lights.

    Here at Core77, we’ve been anxiously anticipating the rise of new lighting forms that embrace and highlight the strengths of CFL and LED bulbs. It’s great to see that we’re not the only ones…Dwell magazine welcomes Spring with their first annual Light and Energy issue.

    Inside the pages of this month’s issue, we not only see innovative examples of energy-efficient LED lamps and pendants, but we also get a brief history of the lightbulb from Edison to the shuttering of GE’s last American incandescent bulb favtory. Considering that “nineteen percent of the world’s energy use goes towards keeping it bright,” it’s a relief that designers are stepping up to the plate and taking on this challenge in style. Here’s an exclusive preview of this month’s lighting picks with Dwell senior editor, Kelsey Keith:

    The primary focus of our April Light & Energy issue is how energy usage has rapidly changed in the past ten years, and will continue do so as incandescents are completely phased out by 2015.

    For our product coverage this month, we took a different tack: I wanted to highlight the design of the newest, most groundbreaking lighting on the market. (Half of which, not-so-incidentally, are using LEDs in place of traditional bulbs, in a few cases even mimicking the old fluorescents.)

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  • Auto components supplier Visteon Corp. of Van Buren Township, Mich., announced Monday, March 12, that it will sell its automotive lighting business to Indian automobile parts company Varroc Group for $92 million.

    The target manufactures exterior lighting products, including front and rear lighting systems, auxiliary lamps, and related subcomponents such as projectors and electronic modules. The business generated 2011 revenue of $531 million. It employs about 4,200 people.

    Visteon, led by chairman, president and CEO Donald J. Stebbins, in October hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Rothschild to serve as financial advisers to explore noncore asset sales under pressure from shareholders looking for improved stock performance.

    Among dissatisfied shareholders was New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which on May 11 nominated two new members to serve on Visteon’s board. Visteon eventually ceded the board seats in August to avoid a proxy battle.

    “This does support optimizing our portfolio and really focusing on our climate and electronics businesses,” Visteon corporate communications director Jim Fisher said. “We’ve talked about optimizing our product portfolio and really positioning the company as a focused high-performance business that can really deliver maximum value for customers and shareholders.”

    The deal should close in the third quarter, pending regulatory clearance and other conditions.

    “I think sub-scale in lighting. This transaction was largely anticipated,” said one analyst who declined to be named.

    Visteon was once the parts unit of Ford Motor Co. before a $2.8 billion spinout in June 2000. It filed for Chapter 11 on May 28, 2009, due to declining liquidity and pending maturity of secured debt waivers at the time.

    The company emerged from court protection on Oct. 1, 2010, with backing from a patchwork of big-name equity investors, including CQS (US) LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Elliott International LP, Goldman Sachs, Monarch Master Funding Ltd., Oak Hill Advisors LP and Solus Alternative Asset Management LP.

    Since coming out of bankruptcy, “they’ve been trying to reposition this business for the long haul,” said analyst Matthew Stower of Guggenheim Securities LLC. Stower added that Visteon’s shareholders could be rushing asset sales and questioned whether it has affected the company’s ability to receive fair value in return.

    Visteon said Nov. 30 that it’s in discussions with Chinese partner Huayu Automotive Systems Co. Ltd. to potentially sell another asset. Visteon said it has signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding setting forth basic terms of a sale of car interiors unit Yanfeng Visteon Automotive Trim Systems Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Visteon and Huayu. Terms of the potential deal were not disclosed, but Visteon said the combination would have annual sales of about $4 billion and serve more than 30 customers from over 60 facilities in 16 countries.

    Varroc Group, based in Aurangabad, India, supplies components for two-wheel, three-wheel, and four-wheel passenger and commercial vehicles, manufacturing electronics, polymer, electrical and metallic parts. Varroc has 5,000 employees in 26 plants — 20 in India, five in Europe, and one in Southeast Asia.

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  • Photographer Terry Richardson’s Hollywood-landscape-driven exhibit runs until the end of the month here and muses on scenes of In-N-Out cheeseburgers, mock Oscar statuettes of himself, a “paparazzi machine” canvas flashing cameras, religious iconography, and of course, sex.

    A motley crew of stars from across the Hollywood spectrum converged on the OHWOW Gallery late last month for the debut of “Terrywood,” which showcases twenty-five of Richardson’s most recent photographs, and is his first exhibit after an eight-year hiatus.

    Speakeasy attended the packed art gallery on February 24, and mingled with A-listers, aspiring models and hipsters drawn to the spectacle of Richardson’s unique Hollywood vision.

    The exhibit welcomed a wide range of personalities from the film, music, fashion and porn industries, like Johnny Knoxville, James Franco, Jared Leto, Tom Ford, the Hilton sisters, Pamela Anderson, Ron Jeremy and Tyler, The Creator.

    Wearing his trademark, thick-rimmed aviator glasses, and a red flannel, Richardson gave a thumbs-up while posing for pictures in front of his “paparazzi machine” piece and other artworks with the likes of Ford and Knoxville, in addition to scores of admiring female fans.

    Al Moran, the owner of the OHWOW Gallery, called the exhibit “an optimist view of Hollywood.  Terry’s such a positive person.  You can see it in the photographs.”

    Richardson’s sexually-themed photos, like the strip-club sign shot of a devil- horned woman’s face hovering over the word “Nude,” and the neon-kissed silhouettes of slinking exotic dancers, were tame compared to his more provocative work, like the “Glee” spread, which one parents’ group likened to pedophilia.

    The now-infamous “Glee” shoot for a 2010 GQ Magazine issue, featured starlet Lea Michele dressed in nothing but tube-socks, panties and a tight baseball jersey, while licking a lollipop and posing suggestively against the backdrop of a high-school locker-room setting.

    Richardson’s fashion work has led to allegations of coercion and misconduct from models he’s collaborated with. Asked about those allegations on the night of the opening, a publicist representing the venue said that Richardson declined to speak to the media.  A spokeswoman for Richardson didn’t return calls seeking comment.

    At the opening, actor Jared Leto, Richardson’s friend, praised the photographer’s work saying “he turned his camera on the Hollywood that we all know and showed us a side that really I think has a nostalgic and deep feeling.  And only he can quite do that.”

    When asked about the controversy and the allegations, Leto defended his friend and said, “When you’re dealing with sexuality, it’s dangerous ground. Sexuality is powerful, it’s provocative and I think his work has always been brave and really honest.”

    Emerging Dutch model, Jill Vessies, who has been pursuing her dream in LA for only a couple of months, said that allegations of sexual misconduct, like the ones made against Richardson, are “really common” in her industry.

    Vessies added “I think it’s amazing that somebody actually dares to makes these pictures and dares to be different.”

    Socialite Paris Hilton, who just wrapped a “Vogue” cover shoot with Richardson, commented on his photographs saying, “I literally want almost every piece for my house. Like, it’s so artsy, it’s so different.”

    After chatting with Hilton, Speakeasy made its way through the crowded space to the back room and glanced at a photo portraying a solitary white cross, besieged by darkness on all sides of the canvas.

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  • Residents voted at a special town meeting Monday night to allocate $7,500 to repair faulty exterior lighting at the Paris Fire Station.

    The money had been in an account to pay for the fire station’s heating system. Voters agreed to move $7,500 for fire station lighting, which has been failing for years, causing expensive bulbs to blow.

    During its regular meeting Monday, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to award a contract to A.D.S. Electric Inc. of Norway to replace the lights.

    Town Manager Phil Tarr said the company’s bid $6,779 was the lowest of the three submitted.

    Selectmen voted to have A.D.S. do the work for up to the $7,500 allotted, in order to allow for possible contingencies. Tarr said if the work went over the amount selectmen approved, another meeting would be necessary.

    At the Feb. 13 meeting, Tarr said that 11 of the 16 exterior lights at the station weren’t working. He said the town should replace them with energy-efficient LED lights, which are eligible for a rebate from the state.

    Tarr told selectmen he expected between $1,800 and $1,900 in rebates. The LED lights would use 52 watts while putting out more light than the current 150- to 200-watt lights in place.

    “It’s fantastic the way LED technology is working,” Tarr said.

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  • The Gerald Phillips-coached Streaks won 23 games while only losing 4 and captured top honors in two conferences, a holiday tournament and vaulted themselves into the Sweet 16 at Champaign.

    The trip to the state finals was not traveled on a smooth road, as they had to dispose of Monmouth and Canton in the sectional tourney.

    The Streaks and Zippers split their regular season games with Monmouth edging Galesburg 34-32 and GHS winning 42-29.

    Monmouth entered the sectional tournament full of confidence that they could handle the Streaks even though it would be played in Steele Gym. A few days before the big match, Phillips spoke to a luncheon meeting of the Maple City Uptown Coaches Association.

    The Monmouth Uptown Coaches attempted to put the jinx on Galesburg High by presenting Phillips with a small trophy adorned with a 40-watt light bulb. A letter accompanying the so called gift read, “Fifteen members of our organization have each contributed 1-cent for the purchase of a Mazda 40-watt-115 volt light bulb. It would be appreciated if you would add it to the battery of the very dim lights in Steele Gym. We are happy to inform you that the 15-contributors made this gesture quite generously and without any pressure intended. Sorry but we cannot give our best wishes for a victory by your team against the Zippers.” Cordially Yours, Monmouth Uptown Coaches Club.

    Coach Phillips good- naturedly placed the special trophy from his Monmouth friends in a conspicuous setting at the south end of Steele Gym beneath poster representing the GHS and Monmouth teams and colors. The “Light Bulb” trophy remained unlit until after Galesburg’s 39-36 victory and then it was switched on to a loud cheer from the Silver Streaks faithful. The Monmouth faithful found out that the Burger fans also could demonstrate as sense of humor by their handling of the special lighting.

    Galesburg started on the right foot at Champaign, edging the pride of southern Illinois, West Frankfort, 45-42. The Streaks then engaged Decatur in one of the greatest overtime battles in state tourney history before falling 73-72 before over 7,000 fans at Huff Gym.

    Local fans were afforded an opportunity to hear both the West Frankfort and Decatur game through an amplified sound system in Steele Gym. The Illinois University radio station WILL was the only one allowed to broadcast the entire tournament. Through the cooperation of WGIL Radio in Galesburg permission was granted to stream the Champaign accounts of the game to the local station and then into Steele Gym.

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  • Drive’s Seon Creedon is impressed by the design, feel and fuel efficiency of Hyundai’s latest estate model.

    Anybody who has ever put a bet on a horse will know that favourites don’t always win. And just because the favourite you backed didn’t win, doesn’t make your selection a bad horse; just that it was beaten by a horse in better form on the day.

    Backing favourites came to mind last week, while I tested the Tourer or Estate version of the Hyundai’s i40, which was favourite to win the Irish Car of the Year award last November. On the day, the majority of the Irish Motor Writers Association jury opted for the Kia Rio and, while Hyundai’s connections were naturally disappointed, they knew that their spacious car will have another day at the races, as it goes before the Irish car-buying public.

    First impressions are lasting and my initial and abiding impression of the i40, which replaces the Sonata, was the length of this estate.

    Like the Jaguar that I tested the previous week, the test car was black and Henry Ford’s favourite colour, coupled with two neat roof rails, gave the car an elongated look.

    Naturally, in a car this long there is plenty of boot space, with a useful luggage floor rail system and a ‘mini’ spare wheel. There are no parking sensors, but you do get a reversing camera, which is very cleverly located in the corner of the rear view mirror.

    The Jaguar has very attractive LED lights and while the LED lights in the i40 are a different shape to the Jaguar’s, they are also gorgeous. It looks like car designers are now working hard on giving us very attractive designs for LED lights.

    I haven’t driven many cars with 1.7 engines, but this diesel version was excellent and frugal also. Indeed, Hyundai hopes that this thrifty engine will be one of the car’s strong selling points and Hyundai’s Sarah Hayes says the firm is very happy with sales of the Tourer and Saloon versions.

    Although most people initially believed that stop-start technology would consume more fuel, it has been proven that this new technology is a fuel-saver. The stop-start technology also reduces C02 emissions and brings the i40 into the lowest tax band, which used to be 104, but was increased to 160 in the recent budget.

    Inside, the décor is predominantly black with a cream roof. There dash has a very attractive curvaceous design, which gives the interior a spacious feel. All the controls on the dash are easy to use and you get plenty of slave controls on the sporty-looking steering wheel.

    The only slightly annoying thing in the cabin is the electric handbrake, which, in my model, didn’t release automatically when I drove off, but then, I suppose, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    Prices start at 26,495 for the Comfort model, while the high spec Executive model that I drove costs 27,995. Normally in Ireland we get the saloon version first, with the estate coming later, but Hyundai has done it differently this time, with the saloon model available now, for a starting price of 24,995.

    The i40 Tourer is a massive motor for a very competitive sector of Irish motor market. But I think it will be well able to take on the opposition and in horse racing parlance the car will run well on any kind of ground. And you won’t have to make many pit stops as it seems to go forever on a full tank of diesel.

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