Lightfair International - no shortage of LEDs in Vegas

LED manufacturers and lighting suppliers were out in force at this year's Lightfair showcase in Vegas.

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Editor studies LEDs in NeoPac booth
Lightfair International, the annual US lighting showcase, took place this year in late May in Las Vegas. Those of us who also visited Light+Building in Frankfurt, Germany in April were struck by the much smaller scale of the event, and the scaled-down presence of companies such as Philips and Osram, as well as the absence of many major players. However, as at last year's event there was a healthy interest in LEDs and LED products, and some of the highlights are described below.

Promoting LEDs on the Strip
TIR Systems' Lexel technology, first unveiled at last year's event, was a winner in the New Product Showcase awards, as was the LumeLEX luminaire from Lighting Services Inc (LSI – see LSI press release). LSI went the extraordinary step of publicizing its new fixtures along the Vegas strip – see photo.

Lotus from Journee Lighting
Other award winners included Lumileds' Luxeon K2 and Journée Lighting's booth (see LED companies win awards at Lightfair International). Journée's very attractive Lotus fixture makes use of an Ostar Lighting LED from Osram Opto and has simple onboard control for dimming and altering the power settings.

Renaissance Lighting
One of the most impressive LED luminaires was Renaissance Lighting's ED series recessed downlight, capable of delivering 600 lm of white light adjustable between 2800 and 5600 K, or RGB light (see press release). The luminaire avoids the pixilated appearance of multiple LEDs by mixing the light inside a hemispherical chamber. The LED array, mounted on a board supplied by Heatron, contains "sleeper" LEDs that are activated when the in-built dynamic monitoring system senses that one of the colors requires a boost in output. This approach counteracts the shift in light output and color balance that occurs as the LEDs degrade over time and at different rates relative to one another. Some of the details of the optical integrating chamber can be found in US patent no. 6,995,355, awarded to Advanced Optical Technologies LLC in February 2006.

GELcore white LEDs
GE Lighting's booth had prime position by the main door of the exhibit hall, but it took a bit of effort to see GELcore's white LED products for lighting. The LEDs were unveiled at last year's Lightfair but have still not been launched commercially; this could happen by the end of 2006 or early next year.
GELcore exhibited 1.2 and 3.6 W LEDs each comprising a 10 mm diameter dome on a 1-inch aluminum PCB. Inside the dome are 1 and 3 chips, respectively, emitting at the near UV wavelength of 405 nm together with a phosphor blend that GELcore can tune to give the desired CRI or color temperature.
The 12.2 and 3.6 W LEDs produce 40 and 120 lm, respectively, with a CRI of 80 and a color temperature of 3500K. A 12 W device with an output of 350 lm had a larger diameter dome, as shown in the accompanying photo from last year's show, probably containing 9 chips. The junction-board thermal resistance is 10 °C/W. GELcore will probably release products at 3 color temperatures – 3000, 3500, 4100 K are the likely values – and will allow the market to determine the CRI values.

Lumileds showcased its Luxeon K2 for the first time in the US, and issued a press release extolling the benefits of operating at 1000 mA in situations where 350 mA just doesn't provide enough light – see Lumileds promotes capability of Luxeon K2 at 1000 mA. Lumileds' Keith Scott told LEDs Magazine that Lumileds will likely upgrade the performance of its warm white LEDs this summer, and plans to introduce a warm-white K2 next year.

Nichia
While some manufacturers have a "one size fits all" approach to their LED portfolio, Nichia has recognized that different applications require different products. The Japanese company plans to introduce not one but three new "one-watt" LEDs this summer, beginning in July with its 083 series, aimed at area lighting applications. This device has extremely high efficacy by virtue of using 6 small LED chips, each driven at 50 mA. Cool white devices are expected to produce 60 lm at 300 mA, equivalent to 52 lm/W, while warm white devices will yield 52 lm equivalent to 46 lm/W.
In August, Nichia will launch the 075 series Dome-type LED, containing a single 800 µm chip with a conformal phosphor coating. These LEDs, designed for demanding optical applications requiring a narrow beam, produce 45 lm at 38 lm/W in cool white, when driven at 350 mA. Later this year, Nichia will upgrade its Rigel product line with a 350 mA, 1.2 W Power Rigel product in a ceramic package, designed for demanding environments such as automotive applications.

Permlight
Permlight Products showcased its new line of Enbryten Down recessed downlights (see press release) for use in residential and commercial building applications. The ENBC6F series has an efficacy exceeding 40 lm/W, thanks to its use of warm white (2750 K) LEDs from Nichia, making it compatible with Title 24 requirements in California. "We can confidently state that at least 50% of the top home builders in the USA will be using these products in new homes as the primary light source by the end of 2006," said Manuel Lynch, Permilight's president and CEO.

As at Light+Building, Seoul Semiconductor estimated that by the end of 2006 it would have a 350 mA LED with an output of 98 lm and efficacy of 84 lm/W in cool white, and 67 lm and 57 lm/W in warm white. This will represent a huge step up from products due out in the third quarter of 2006, which will have an output of 65 lm and 52 lm in cool and warm white, respectively. Seoul also exhibited a 0.5 W Led described as "the world's brightest 5 mm lamp", which produces 20 lm (42 lm/W) at 6500K and 15 lm (31 lm/W) at 3000K.

Tucked away on the Osram stand shared with Sylvania was Osram Opto's Platinum Dragon, the 4-watt version of the Golden Dragon single-chip device. The cool-white Platinum product (warm white is not yet available) contains ThinGaN blue LED chips and can handle up to 1000 mA. The maximum junction temperature is 135°C (compared with 125°C for the Golden product) and the thermal resistance has been reduced to 8-11 °C/W, from 15 °C/W.
The Osram stand also featured several fixtures using the company's LEDs, including track lights from Lighting Science Group that use Ostar Lighting LEDs. Elsewhere, pendant lights incorporated color-on-demand technology, which allows color to be selected by changing the phosphor blend. Also, the booth featured a prototype 4-inch-aperture downlight from Color Kinetics, containing 6 Ostars. The dimmable fixture will be available at a color temperature of either 2700, 3000 or 4200K, and will produce 900-1000 lm. Also, Sylvania introduced a number of module-level products using Golden Dragons – see Sylvania Dragon systems revolutionize white LED illumination

Lamina
Lamina Ceramics showcased its newest product line, Titan, which features the only 3000K, 25-watt warm white LED light engine available on the market. The output is over 600 lumens in roughly two square inches, and is equivalent to 50-watt PAR-30 wide-angle halogen floodlights. The 4700 K version produces more than 1200 lm within a 60-degree projection angle (see press release).

More highlights

Retail applications were in evidence, with several mocked-up jewelry cases lit by LEDs, while both GELcore and Nualight demonstrated the effectiveness of LEDs in refrigerated displays.

Fraen showcased its custom high-power LED optics solutions , including unique reflectors for Osram Ostar LEDs, a color-mixing TIR lens for Seoul P5 RGB LEDs, a practical DRAGONtape optical assembly solution, and new TIR optics for Luxeon K2 LEDs (see press release).

Optek Technology's new products included a 1-W LED, an RGB version of its 10-W Lednium package, and several novel Led assemblies (see press release).

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