• Soraa initially plans to target a niche where LEDs haven’t made big inroads, lamps typically made with halogen that are common in track lighting at retail stores and other businesses. Soraa’s lamps use a single chip to produce light—rather than four or more—and don’t require the cooling fans of some comparable LED-based products.

    Soraa plans to start volume sales to commercial customers in the second quarter for around $25 a lamp, in line with some other products on the market. But it expects to have a more long-term impact, using the same underlying technology in eventual replacements for incandescent bulbs and pushing down prices that have hindered LED adoption.

    Rivals question some of the claims. But they are hard to ignore altogether because of the source—Shuji Nakamura, a Soraa co-founder who overcame doubters in the early 1990s to invent the variety of LEDs that now dominate lighting applications.

    The Japanese scientist also fought a high-profile legal battle against his former employer, Nichia Corp., winning a $189.8 million judgment in what was considered a landmark ruling for employee rights in Japan; he later accepted an $8 million settlement that ended appeals in the case. Other accomplishments include an Emmy award in January for his LED inventions and winning the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize, which pays about $1.5 million.

    Mr. Nakamura acknowledges that many experts doubt that the start-up’s manufacturing approach can practically reduce LEDs costs. “It is becoming a reality because of Soraa,” he insists. “It could be a big breakthrough.”

    The closely held company, founded in 2008, has raised more than $100 million. Its chief executive is Eric Kim, a well-known former executive at Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Rivals include large companies such as Nichia, Philips Electronics NV and Cree Inc., while start-ups such as Bridgelux Inc., Switch Bulb Co. and Intematix Corp. are also pushing LED technology.

    Incandescent bulbs electrify a wire filament in a vacuum tube, wasting roughly 90% of their power as heat and burning out frequently. Many consumers have shifted to more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, but those are often faulted for their light quality and other factors.

    Hence the interest in LEDs, a kind of chip that emits light when zapped with electricity. They typically match or exceed the 75% power savings of CFLs and last much longer.

    But LEDs have penetrated homes slowly, in part because of the difficulty of affordably matching the light output of 60-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulbs (a 60-watt incandescent bulb can cost less than a dollar). While some LED bulbs can cost as little as $15, the U.S. unit of Philips has discussed a $50 price for its forthcoming 60-watt equivalent bulb that won the Department of Energy’s $10 million “L Prize” for factors such as endurance and light quality.

    The phenomenon, called droop, has been a focus of Mr. Nakamura and other faculty members at University of California, Santa Barbara, including Soraa co-founders Steve DenBaars and James Speck. They opted to use a wafer that is also made of gallium nitride—an approach called GaN on GaN, based on the abbreviation for the material.

    Mr. Kim starts presentations about Soraa with photographs that show a series of microscopic impurities in LEDs built on sapphire. None are visible with the pure gallium nitride approach. “We call it ’simply perfect,’” he says.


  • Kim Daywalt knows what it’s like to have a young child battling cancer.

    That’s why her family raises money through an elaborate Christmas light show in Greene Township to help others who are going through the same experience.

    Last year, the Wilson Family Christmas Lights Show raised more than $4,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

    “It means a lot to me, and it reminds me of my son,” Daywalt said. “I’ve been there. It means a lot knowing I’m helping families in the same situation because you don’t know how long your kids will be there.”

    This year’s display was the undertaking of Trevor Johns, Phillip Krieger LaWanda Wilson, and Emilie Daywalt.

    They started work in September, but the planning began long before then.

    “We plan from the very beginning. Last year, as the show was going on, we were already planning next year,” Johns said while working on the display Saturday. “For 2012, we’re already under way.”

    This year’s display at 490 Starr Ave. has grown from last year.

    The display is made up of more than 80,000 lights, up from the roughly 60,000 lights in last year’s show.

    The “mega tree,” as they call it, has about a mile of lights strung on the branches. An archway across the driveway has another 16,800 lights.

    The lights are synchronized to music by 320 computer controlled channels, more than three times the number used last year.

    Johns lives in York County but travels to his grandmother’s home each weekend to work on the display, which he describes as an “organized mess.”

    All of the lights, controllers and computers are paid for by the family.

    The electric bills are actually not as bad as one might expect.

    “We never have one light on for more than a minute at a time. They’re constantly blinking on and off, so other years when we had lights constantly on, bills were twice as much, maybe even three times as much.”

    They got the idea for the project after seeing another similar Christmas light display.

    He researched computer-controlled light displays on the Internet and discovered that orchestrating them was actually not too hard, though it is very time-consuming.

    “I love it. Losing Colbie, there are hard times when you get angry, but in the end, seeing the community smile, especially the kids, makes it all worth it,” Johns said. “If you can change the life of just one child, you can change the world.”

    Kim Daywalt and her husband help out with the show, where they’re known as the “cookie people.”

    On certain days, the family hands out free cookies, candy, coffee and hot chocolate to visitors.

    Visitors to the show can make a donation, with all proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

    The show is dedicated to Daywalt’s son, Colbie, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was 3 1/2 and passed away when he was 7.

    “The show brings out some other families that are going through the same thing we did. I have a chance to talk to some of these families,” Daywalt said. “They need that support and they need to know they’re not alone.”

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  • Perhaps one of the few things that most Republicans and Democrats in Washington can agree upon these days is the reality that our economic recovery does not solely depend on taxing and spending, but on the vitality of innovative small businesses.  As the debate rages about the best way to reduce our debt, it seems that a fundamental principal of business and sports has been forgotten.  To win, sometimes you just need to hit singles and doubles.

    A clear example of this disconnect can be found in Congress’ repeated failure to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has been in a holding pattern for over three years.  The bill, which would fund the day-to-day operations of the nation’s aviation system, would also transform the nation’s antiquated 1950’s style ground-based air traffic control system to a “Next Generation” satellite-based system.

    The benefits of making our air traffic system both safer and more efficient are both obvious and manifold.  However, another key benefit to passing this legislation is that it would allow airports and businesses to make long-term plans regarding infrastructure projects.

    This is more important to an airport or business than stimulus and more important for our economy in the next few years than anything that will come from the Debt Relief effort.  Perhaps most importantly, unlike the Debt Relief bill, the funding of Next Gen would come directly from industry, not the taxpayer.

    Moreover, Congress and the key stakeholders agreed on the formula many months ago.  Passing the FAA bill would be a solid “double” for our economy and Congress should set aside the partisan fringe issues holding it up and pass it now.

    Despite the fact that major aviation projects and all long term planning have been in limbo for several years, the FAA and small companies are doing their best to innovate and modernize our airports as best they can.

    In many cases this has been dependent upon businesses developing new technologies to address pressing needs on their own dime in the hopes they will be adopted.  Doing it this way can be incredibly risky, particularly for smaller, family-owned businesses in this economic climate.

    In this vein, our company was proud to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration that will revolutionize energy usage and efficiency at our nation’s airports.

    Beginning next year, we will begin to replace legacy navigational lighting systems (PAPIs) powered by antiquated incandescent lamps with up to 400 systems that are by powered by Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps.  Once implemented, this program could cut energy costs for PAPI systems at U.S. airports by 75 percent.

    Under normal daytime use, the existing FAA incandescent PAPI requires approximately 3500 watts of power, while the Next Gen PAPI draws about 850 watts, or 75 percent less energy.  The Next Gen PAPIs are much more reliable than the current PAPI systems and require less maintenance. The LED lamps last over 50,000 hours while the incandescent lamps last approximately 1000 hours.

    In addition to being a solid “single” for our nation’s aviation economy, the green lighting initiative is also a “triple play” for our nation’s ailing economy. The program will dramatically drive down airport energy, maintenance, and environmental mitigation costs and represents significant savings to airports and taxpayers over time.

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  • Genesis Photonics Inc. Chairman K.J. Chong has recently pledged that his company will become ” MediaTek Inc.” of Taiwan’s LED industry, suggesting his company’s goal of becoming No.1 supplier of innards of LED lamps in a single package as MediaTek being the No.1 supplier of mobile phone chipsets.

    Chong pointed out that his company, an LED epi-wafer maker, will help Taiwan’s LED-lighting manufacturers introduce high price/performance ratio products with its light engines to compete with global lighting heavyweights such as Philips, Osram and General Electric.

    Genesis has begun supplying the engines, which are completed with LED chip, phosphor coating, flip-chip substrate board and thermal substrate, in the fourth quarter of 2011 to LED-lighting manufacturers. Chong said the company has won patents on the four elements of the engine, freeing users from threats of patent lawsuits. With the universal engines, lighting manufacturers, he noted, can introduce their products quicker and at lower costs than their competitors.

    Chong pointed out that although some epi-wafer makers like Epistar have introduced products similar to his company’s for a while, their products are still costly and complicated in design, making lighting manufacturers’ product developments inefficient involving their engines.

    Besides light engine business, the company has opened an LED lighting venture to promote its branded lighting products for project and commercial purposes in Taiwan. In mainland China, it is working with several retailers to market its products.

    Chong noted that as Osram, Philips and GE have only controlled a combined 30% of global lighting market his company sill has an ample room to win a larger slice of the LED lighting market by working with brand-name luminaire manufacturers, a strategy similar to the one that has led to MediaTek’s success in becoming mainland China’s No.1 supplier of mobile phone chipsets.

    Other developing markets that the company is tapping also include Turkey and Russia. South Korea and Japan are among the developed markets the company has just started to enter.

    This report forecasts the Global LED market to grow at a CAGR of 7.7 percent over the period 2010-2014. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the demand for energy-efficient lighting. The Global LED market has also been witnessing an increase in the preference for LED lighting in the Government sector and the Public Sector. However, the high price of LEDs could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.

    “Global LED Market 2010-2014″ has been prepared based on an in-depth analysis of the market with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas and the EMEA and APAC regions. It covers the market for LEDs that emit any kind of colored light.

    This report does not cover the market for any product, service, or solution that has LED as a light source. The report analyzes the current Global LED market landscape and its growth prospects. It also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

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  • led light 23.11.2011 No Comments

    In LED lamps, as most power LEDs are surface-mounted, some sort interface is needed before the heatsink.

    This can be a metal-cored PCB (MCPCB), a ceramic substrate, or even an FR4 PCB riddled with thermal vias - the latter of which can hit a creditable 3-4K/W if done well, according to Lumileds’ Kruger.

    All have different thermal conductivity and different coefficients of expansion, and picking the wrong expansion coefficient can ruin reliability in products that undergo a lot of thermal cycling.

    For limited runs, custom heatsinks may not be necessary. “There are off-the-shelf circular LED heatsinks and heatsinks for strips of LEDs,” says Paul Ward, opto-products manager at distributor Farnell.

    And for large runs, there is an alternative to aluminium heatsinks.

    “There’s a new thermally-conductive plastic that can be moulded. You can form the body and heatsink from the same material,” says Ward. “Philips has done this in one of its MR16s.”

    He holds out some hope for people who do all the design optimisation and still find there is not enough natural convection to cool their designs: “Nuventix has a very clever way of generating turbulent flow using magnets and a diaphragm.”

    Called SynJet, they are small DC-powered capsules that puff air out in a way that pulls in ambient air. Nuventix claims they will not clog with dust and can run silently. A range of circular finned heatsinks are available from the same company that are matched to specific puffers and specific LEDs.

    Fans are used inside LED car headlights. Are these any use in luminaries for buildings?

    “I have not found anybody using fans,” says Ward.

    One last piece of advice:

    “People always focus on the thermals of LEDs,” said Lumileds’ Kruger. “Quite often you will have the driver inside heatsink, and sometimes it will have electrolytics - whose reliability goes down very rapidly above 100°C. A system is only as strong as its weakest link.”

    On the other hand, you could make a batch of different mechanical prototypes, which is increasingly difficult with the smooth curving geometry and complex shape of modern designs, but made easier by rapid prototyping techniques.

    “Batches of runs are generally the argument for computation,” says Parry, pointing out that time optimising heat spreading and conduction in the ’stack’ is seldom wasted: “If you can take a few cents out of an LED light bulb, its really does warrant putting that effort into design.”

    In designing a stack, “the more you can spread heat before it gets to the heatsink the better, but you need a stack-up that meets your cost objective. You have to think about this in 3D”, he adds.

    As an example of ‘Rolls-Royce’ heat spreading, Parry cites some telecoms laser diodes where the die sits on a synthetic diamond heat-spreader, on a copper second-level spreader, on the aluminium package base.

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