Silicones from Dow Corning enable growth of next-gen LED technology and applications in Europe

Nov. 17, 2008
Date Announced: 17 Nov 2008 Dow Corning Helping To Improve Performance and Reliability Seneffe, Belgium, November 12 — Silicon technology from Dow Corning is helping usher in a new generation of light emitting diodes (LEDs) that since their introduction in the 1960s have held the energy-saving promise of replacing incandescent, halogen and fluorescent light bulbs.“LEDs have become common in niche applications such as cell phones keypads, large-screen televisions, and traffic signals, but until now they’ve been unable to generate light appropriate for broader use in homes and offices,” said Billy Han, global market manager, Dow Corning Light Management.The hope is even more palpable in Europe where lighting consumes about 96 TWh per year in the residential sector (about 14 percent of total residential electricity consumption) and about 175 TWh per year (or 26 percent of total electricity consumption) in the tertiary sector, including street lighting.. At global level, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that grid-based electric lighting consumes 19 percent of total global electricity production, or about 2600 TWh per year. Because of LED’s huge potential to save energy, promotion of LED lighting is also high on the European Commission’s agenda. For example, LED will be a key component in implementing the recent decision by the European Commission to introduce dedicated Daytime Running Light (DRL) - special lamps which are automatically switched on when the engine is started - on all new types of motor vehicles from the year 2011 onwards. DRL, which will increase road safety by improving visibility of vehicles, needs to be efficient from an environmental point of view. The energy consumption when using LED is approximately only 10 percent of the energy consumption of the normal driving light, compared with 25 - 30 percent of normal driving light consumption when using other technologies.LEDs are semiconductor chips containing a chemical compound that gives off light when an electric current passes through it. The light can be focused into tight beam or a broad pattern through a lens, usually made of plastic or epoxy. The next generation of high brightness LEDs (HBLED) is partly the result of an environmental- and regulatory-inspired adoption of lead-free solder. When LED manufacturers found that existing lenses couldn’t withstand the heat necessary to use the new lead-free solder process, they turned to Dow Corning, a leader in silicon-based technology.Engineers from Dow Corning worked with molding fabricators on mold design to develop silicone-based lenses that could withstand the heat, are able to use existing assembly techniques, and provide the durability and transparency needed for HBLED applications.With their superior thermal properties and stability, silicones are able to withstand both the high temperatures in the high brightness LED assembly process and extreme operational temperatures in their life-cycles. As such, silicones are quickly replacing epoxies and other organic materials to be widely used as encapsulants, lenses, adhesives, sealants and conformal coatings for LED applications. The technology has advanced to enable LEDs to produce much higher brightness than ever before, opening up new applications such as backlight units for liquid crystal displays, automotive lighting, and consumer products such as flashes for camera phones, compact projectors and automotive lighting. Industry experts predict that the global HBLED market will grow from around €2.5 billion in 2006 to around €6.5 billion in 2011.“Recent advances allowing HBLEDs’ broader adoption include significantly improved performance and reliability from new materials and packaging designs. Silicone materials have proven to be a key enabler to this broader adoption with their ability to increase light output and minimize heat build-up,” said Han. “Silicones are ideally matched to the demands of LED manufacturing because they offer exceptional reliability and optical clarity for brightness and more vivid colors.”# # #About Dow Corning Dow Corning ( provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States.

Katie Miller Ph: +44 1446 723561

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