News in brief from Japan

Developments relating to white LEDs, drivers, automotive lighting and mobile handset applications

AUTOMOTIVE

Ichikoh Industries, a major automotive lamp manufacturer, has created a fog lamp containing three white LEDs. The firm says that the lamps consume half as much electricity as high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, and are lighter and just as durable.

The first model is likely to be marketed through car accessory stores this summer, and will be priced at around 90,000 yen ($870).

WHITE LEDs

Mitsubishi Chemical is to start selling new fluorescent materials in April. Commonly-used phosphors convert blue light to yellow, and the resulting white light is deficient in the red portion of the spectrum.

The new fluorescent materials convert the blue light from the LED chip into green and red light, so the resulting white light is formed from a mixture of the three primary colours.

HANDSET LEDs

Citizen Electronics, a leading manufacturer of white LEDs for mobile phone handsets thanks to its licensing agreement with Nichia, has attributed a 20% gain in pretax profit to its strong shipments of LEDs for LCD backlights and camera phone flashes.

Meanwhile, Koha has seen the unit price of its cell-phone LEDs fall by about 30% due to price competition from South Korean and Taiwanese firms. The company sells ultra-thin 0.35mm chip LED lamps, as well as LCD backlights and a range of other LED products.

DRIVERS

New Japan Radio Co has started shipping samples of two ICs for driving LEDs. The NJU6049 enables up to four white LEDs to be driven in series and is available for 100 yen (around $1). Equipped with a shut-down terminal, it is suitable for use in cell phones and electronic dictionary backlights.

The NJU6061 controls the brightness of red, green and blue LEDs and enables pulse-width modulation (PWM) control. Available for 140 yen, the driver is suitable for use in backlights in cell-phones and car audio systems.

Also, Toko Inc is offering the TK11880F for driving white LEDs with PWM control for 100 yen. The company is producing 200,000 units of this IC per month.

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