LEDs Magazine News & Insights 20 May 2020 - Editor's Column

May 20, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for May 20, 2020. We’ve published a lot of material on ultraviolet (UV) LED technology relative to disinfection applications in the recent past. Of course, we know UV-C (100–280-nm) emission can kill pathogens such as the coronavirus.

We remain somewhat overrun by press announcements that are clear attempts to cash in on UV technology even in the absence of solid science and safety.  In this same newsletter, I’ve previously shared a column that I wrote for our recent issue on how the coronavirus has brought out the best and the worst in people.

Unfortunately, I made a statement in that column that is wrong, or at best unproven. More than once I have said that I’m not an expert on UV, which makes judging the plethora of new UV press releases even more difficult. But I should have taken more care myself in crafting that column.

I said in my column that UV-A (315–400-nm) and short-wavelength visible light such as violet at around 405 nm could kill coronavirus after lengthy exposure — the technology we have called continuous disinfection. And a reader correctly called me on the statement, because research has not proven it to be true.

The UV-A or violet emission can destroy bacteria. That has been proven. But bacteria and viruses are different challenges. There has been limited research that shows the emission can inactivate some viruses, but there is currently no indication it is effective against the coronavirus.

On to news of the week, the DesignLights Consortium has published a report on what it calls networked lighting controls (NLCs), and specifically interoperability among such controls at the device and system levels. The report is based on the definitions of use cases for controls and the benefits that interoperability can bring to those use cases. Ultimately, the research that went into the report will help guide ongoing development of smart and connected solid-state lighting (SSL).

We also have a packaged LED story for you about emission outside the human visual range, but at the other end of the spectrum from UV. Osram Opto Semiconductors has added to its infrared (IR) LED portfolio. The new Piccolo emitter is significantly smaller than Osram’s prior LED offerings, which will enable it to be used in gesture-based control for automotive systems.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]