LEDs Magazine News & Insights 21 Oct 2020 – Editor’s Column

Oct. 20, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Oct. 21, 2020. I’m writing this after a long day moderating HortiCann Light + Tech Conference sessions. The virtual format has worked out fairly well and the day one sessions were quite good.

Bruce Bugbee, director of the crop physiology lab at Utah State University, got the day off to a great start. Bugbee explained that his research reveals some misconceptions about plants and light. For instance, many times we have heard that green photons are wasted in horticultural lighting, and that they reflect off the leaves. Bugbee showed, however, that the green energy actually penetrates deeper than blue or standard red energy and that green is very important to plants. Unfortunately, we don’t have efficient monochromatic green LEDs.

He further showed that more far-red energy can increase yield in horticultural lighting. So we should see more far-red in LED fixtures intended for horticulture, right? Well, those LEDs remain significantly more expensive than broad-spectrum white LEDs for now, according to Bugbee.

Osram followed immediately after Bugbee with a presentation that revealed a new approach to the dilemma that Bugbee described. The company has a new horticultural white LED family that uses a phosphor formulation that reduces energy in the red band and increases green energy. It’s intended to be combined with Osram’s Hyper Red LEDs to optimize horticultural efficacy and plant yield.

You will likely receive this newsletter before day two of HortiCann starts on Wednesday, Oct. 21. There is still time to register and catch some sessions. And the content will be archived for 90 days.

Moving to news of the week, Monday started with a bang. Cree Inc announced it was selling the Cree LED business unit to Smart Global Holdings. It’s hard to see the fit for an LED manufacturing business in the Smart portfolio of companies, but Smart president Mark Adams has a background in LEDs having served as Lumileds’ president. Adams touted Cree’s broad portfolio, industry-leading technology, and huge customer base as reasons that Smart pursued the acquisition.

In our seemingly-obligatory ultraviolet (UV) disinfection story, our Mark Halper wrote about UV-C-band energy being used in iconic Spanish theaters to disinfect surfaces. The story does specify that the UV-C lighting is not used when people are present. We continue to hear horror stories about UV-C-specific injuries from around the globe.

There was a flurry of news in the intellectual property (IP) space that broke last week. With HortiCann approaching, I did not have time to research the situation and write a bylined news story. But you will find links down below to several of the press releases that were issued on the matters.

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]