SIL 2013 will celebrate 50 years of LEDs and chronicle SSL proliferation (MAGAZINE)

The 14th annual Strategies in Light conference will be held February 12-14, 2013 in Santa Clara, CA and Ella Shum writes that the 50th year of LED technology will be a prime theme although the future development of SSL will pervade most presentations.

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This article was published in the November/December 2012 issue of LEDs Magazine.

View the Table of Contents and download the PDF file of the complete November/December 2012 issue, or view the E-zine version in your browser.

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To get a feel for the theme at Strategies in Light (SIL) 2013, simply consider the presentation planned by the inventor of the blue LED Shuji Nakamura that will explore what we expect in LEDs in 2020. Indeed the February 12-14 conference that will take place at the Santa Clara, CA Convention Center will include presentations that cover the gamut of LED manufacturing to solid-state lighting applications (SSL) focused on broader deployment of the technologies and the trend that LEDs will become our primary light source. The conference will celebrate the 50th birthday of the LED, but the pioneers that will be recognized at the event will speak about the future of the technology.

New for 2013

As always, SIL 2013 will provide a compelling conference, an Investor Forum, and an exhibit hall packed with innovative new products. But there are notable changes in store that promise to make the 2013 event the best ever.

For the first time, everyone attending the conference can attend the Plenary Session. And that session is star studded. We have invited the leaders and visionaries of the industry to address the conference and we want everyone to be able to hear the talks.

We have also changed the track structure, abolishing the hard line between the old HB-LED and Lighting Tracks. We have recognized that the audience is mainly interested in the market and technology so we have created the “LED & Lighting Technology Track” and “LED & Lighting Market Track”. Some technology topics are applicable for lighting and other applications and companies in lighting may branch out into other markets.

We will still offer a Manufacturing Track. But unless you register solely for the Manufacturing Track, you can attend talks in all tracks. So pick your talks, not your tracks!

Plenary Session

Back to the Plenary Session, we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the invention of the visible LED at SIL 2013. Besides talks from leaders of the industry like M J Jou of Epistar and Nobert Hiller of Cree, we have invited Professor Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue LED, to give us a visionary talk on the future of the LED.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Nakamura had a vision that gallium nitride (GaN) could yield a high efficiency blue emitter and, by combining it with Nichia’s phosphor technology, could replace the Edison light bulb. With his breakthrough blue LED in 1993, and his first white LED a few years later, he unveiled his vision to the world — leapfrogging all the established players and stunning the world. And now, his vision has become our reality, and will affect our world for generations to come. We can’t wait to hear what he has to say about what the LED will look like in 2020.

Bob Steele will be hosting the Pioneer Awards, recognizing some of the key people who have influenced the development of our industry. Nick Holonyak, George Craford, and Roland Haitz and will join Nakamura, in being recognized for their contributions to the industry.

Hot topics

While LED lighting has made a significant move into the market, many issues remain to broader deployment. Moreover applications beyond general illumination are opening broader opportunities for LEDs.

At SIL 2013, we will get to hear visions for LED lighting from influential leaders in the industry. We will learn about how LEDs will affect the way we live— our health and the food we grow. Indeed how LED lighting affects our health is becoming a hot topic. Based on her research, Professor Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) will be speaking about the truths and myths surrounding LED lighting and our health. We will also be hosting a 4 hour workshop dedicated to “Human factors & lighting design.”

Talks will further report on the performance of LEDs thus far in real life application. We have speakers reporting on adaptive controls in outdoor lighting, and the challenges of replacing office lighting. Speakers will compare availability, diversity and pricing of LED-based products relative to other lighting technologies and the role of designers in the LED lighting transformation.

One major challenge In LED lighting is the growing number of tests involved. Testing and standards have been a positive factor helping the industry develop higher quality products. Still the number of tests, the amount of time that elapses during tests, the cost of all the tests, and the need to repeat tests due to small product changes have ballooned. It is getting to a point where it is suffocating the innovation in LED lighting.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has opened the discussion on ways to mitigate the testing problem while still ensuring product quality. We will help move that discussion further at SIL 2013. We have a dedicated session called “Testing & speed of innovation” where there will be presentations from Finelite, the DOE, and utility Southern California Edison. That session will conclude with a panel discussion that promises to be very lively.

As previously noted, the presentations will go beyond general lighting. We are fortunate to have Wolfgang Lex of Osram Opto Semiconductor speak this year presenting “Is there light beyond lighting?” Lex will discuss a number of applications beyond display backlighting and general lighting that will consume significant volumes of LEDs.

The Investor Forum

We will again host an Investor Forum at SIL 2013. Many investment professionals, financial analysts, venture capitalists, and merger and acquisition groups in large companies are interested in start-ups in the LED and Lighting sector. We have invited 12 start-ups, selected from different stages of development, to discuss their companies and new technologies. Each company gets a 15 minute slot to present. Last year, one CEO of a start-up was immediately surrounded by interested parties upon leaving the podium. He received $9M three months later and it all started with his presentation at this forum.

The start-ups this year are almost all focused on LED lighting — ranging from control to drivers to luminaires. We also have four longer talks to anchor the day including the keynote from Christian Schraft, senior vice president of Osram, speaking about the lighting industry. Dan Coyne, managing Director of Canaccord Genuity, will discuss the industry’s liquidity and valuation trends.

A lively panel at the end of day will be moderated by Robert Walker, previously a venture capitalist and LED industry executive who is now the CEO of a stealth-mode startup. The panelists will include venture capitalists from Kleiner Perkins, Capricorn, NGEN Partners, and from and the investment bank Canaccord Genuity.

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