PROGRAMS | LEDs Magazine serves up second annual BrightStar Awards honors

June 8, 2023
The 2023 BrightStar Awards jury recognized differentiators such as flexibility in luminaire form factors, robustness, interoperability and compatibility with a larger product ecosystem, and application efficacy across the range of SSL use cases.


In its second year running, the LEDs Magazine BrightStar Awards program recognized 50 solid-state lighting components, controls products, and finished luminaires evaluated by a panel of experienced industry jurors for performance, reliability, energy and operational efficiency, and advances in LED-based applications.

Products receiving an average score between 3.5 and 5 stars — with 5 stars being the maximum — were conferred as Honorees. These successful entrants received a personalized statuette to commemorate their achievement in furthering the functionality, integration, and evolution of SSL technologies.

At LightFair 2023, held May 2325, the LEDs Magazine team presented BrightStar Awards in person to honorees in attendance. Honorees proclaimed their appreciation for industry recognition of their employees’ dedication to collaboration, continuous improvement, determination in surpassing legacy product performance, and the realization of next-generation features and luminaire designs.

The BrightStar Awards jurors praised the recognized luminaires for their slimmer profile designs with high impact, optical innovation for visual acuity, glare reduction, careful beam placement, and uniformity. They also highly regarded modularity; ease of installation, commissioning, or integration of components; attention to sustainability objectives such as using recycled or recyclable materials; and a variety of controls that allow a range of simple sensing to more complex arrangements and functions for sophisticated lighting and building connectivity. Read on to learn why the 50 BrightStar Awards Honorees stood out.

Luminis – Clermont Indoor/Outdoor Luminaire

A “curb to cube” approach enables designers to mix and match optics and mounting options to carry a consistent luminaire aesthetic throughout a project, indoors and out. Glare-managing optics can support visual comfort for both interior and exterior illumination. Delivering up to 18,442 lm, Clermont comes in Type II, III, IV, or V distributions, to which one judge noted: "The optical design of the Type V distribution has the potential to produce very high uniformity with high optical efficiency, which has been shown to have positive effects on perceptions of safety."

MetroSpec Technology – FlexRad BoardOnCoil Minnie

BOC Minnie’s compact geometry supports a variety of fixture formats, including single- and double-sided directional luminaires. The LED module measures less than 40 mm in diameter, less than 20 mm deep, and weighs less than 20 g. Jurors acknowledged the elimination of a heat sink enabling the smaller form factor. The self-cooled module, offered in a range of colors and white CCTs, operates at up to 10W and produces more than 160 lm/W.

Beacon (HLI Brand of Current) – Ratio Bollard

Ratio features a rectilinear design with clean lines on all four sides of the luminaire. Optical arrays exhibiting zero uplight on each side allow customized illumination in 90-degree increments. The field-rotatable base plate eases installation, and optional photocontrols reduce energy usage. Field-replaceable surge protection gained nods of approval from the judging panel.

Acuity Brands Lighting – D-Series, Models DSX0, DSX1, and DXS2

D-Series outdoor area luminaires utilize BLC4 backlight control optics to reduce wasted lumens, delivering zero foot-candles about 6 feet behind the pole. Acuity nLight AIR wireless controls support group dimming, with additional photocontrols and sensors available. Luminaires are offered in 15 light distribution options, with either standard 70/80 CRI or optional 90 CRI.

Fluence – VYNE Horticultural Luminaire

VYNE delivers two different light spectra for balance between supplemental lighting efficacy for high-wire vine crops and more comfortable worker visual conditions via PhysioSpec Dual R9 or Broad white spectral recipes. The DLC-listed intracanopy luminaires operating at higher intensity delivered greater cumulative cucumber yields compared to top lights only.

A-Light – Lean Recessed Luminaire

Architectural recessed ceiling fixtures use 100% recycled PET felt for acoustic dampening and provide a range of color options. One juror commented on the innovation in employing on-site ceiling tiles as the main reflector for the asymmetric light engine. The collapsible form factor reduces fixture volume and weight by 88%, thereby reducing embodied carbon from transport for greater sustainability. All materials are recyclable and free of toxins, such as PVC.

Keystone Technologies – Mistik RGBW Wall Washer

The IP66-rated Mistik washes walls with up to 18 feet of vibrant color. The plug-and-play fixture is immediately controllable with an intuitive smartphone app interface for color, saturation, and brightness adjustments, as well as programmable transitions and scenes. Up to 40 DMX 512- and RDM-compliant wall washers can be connected in series with weatherproof plug connectors.

PureEdge Lighting – Saber Mini

The linear luminaire’s proprietary, 0.6-inch-wide optical silicone lens delivers a 160-degree beam with 95 CRI at R9 of 59 for a 3000K model. Multiple dimmable static-white CCTs, tunable white, dynamic RGB, and monochromatic models feature a wet-location rating and watertight barrel connections for functional and conceptual outdoor designs.

iGuzzini – Agorà

The Agorà architectural spotlight is designed to blend into urban spaces with its thin footprint (between 72 and 201 mm) and optical assembly that can be adjusted horizontally from -50 to +90 degrees. The Slim version uses a remote power supply, while the Compact model integrates the power supply. Luminous flux ranges up to 50,000 lm, enabled by Opti Beam optics for visual comfort, with six color options.

Nichia Corporation – NCSU434C UV-C LED

The 3.5-mm-square NCSU434C LED provides 280-nm UV radiation at typical 110 mW of radiant flux at a binned output power of 2W (350 mA/5.7V), with an improved wall-plug efficiency of 5.5%. In testing, the hermetically sealed package exhibited an R70 greater than 10,000 hours at Tj=100°C on the preceding 434B emitter with an identical architecture.

iLight by Luminii – Plexineon

The next-generation bendable neon alternative exhibits 45% greater visible light output and 90+ CRI compared to legacy products. All Plexineon is IP67, IK10, and 3G rated for high resistance to weather, impact, and vibration. Available in surface, suspended, and catenary linear and ring options plus a recessed linear option, the product achieves horizontal bend radius down to 0.5 inch and vertical down to 6 inches.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. – Samsung High Power LH502D Outdoor LED

The LH502D 5050 LED features eight chips with a robust, sulfur-resistant ceramic coating to maintain lumen output in outdoor lighting designs. Tests demonstrate up to 16-year lifetime under 8-hour per day operation, when lumen depreciation reaches 10%. High-Power Epi-up chips deliver 1,068 lm at 1A for 18% greater output than comparable 5050 light sources.

Cooper Lighting Solutions – iO CoviO Graze

The IP66-rated iO CoviO Graze serves architectural wall grazing and washing applications with eight bidirectional optical distributions, three output options up to 1,500 lm/ft, and 1.5-step MacAdam ellipse binning for maximum color consistency over runs. The fixture is capable of up to 16,000 cd/ft center beam candle power for maximum punch.

Lumileds – LUXEON HL1Z LED

The 1.4-mm-square undomed, single-sided HL1Z LED achieves 137-lm/W efficacy. Directional top emission enables high color angle over performance, color consistency, and tight beam control while preventing crosstalk. Multiple emitters can be packed in close arrays to maximize intensity and output precision.

Bodine – BSL10T3 Emergency LED Driver

The 10W, Class 2 output emergency LED driver utilizes ABConnect technology for simpler installation without physical “enable” connections. As soon as AC mains power is applied, the product is enabled, meeting CEC Title 20 input power requirements with plenum-rated cable assembly for the test capability. Self-testing can be enabled or disabled with the flip of a switch.

Lutron Electronics Co, Inc. – Lutron Athena Wireless Node

The small-scale Athena fixture controller meets the open D4i standard for adding digital wireless control to individual compliant fixtures, allowing users to continually customize scenes and zones with both tunable- and static-white luminaires. The node can be installed on the top or bottom of the fixture or remote mounted to reduce visual impact.

Kenall Manufacturing – Nonferrous luminaires

Kenall’s nonferrous luminaire families serve MRI suites, hybrid operating rooms, and lab spaces that involve magnetically sensitive activities. SimpleSeal and MedMaster series deliver a range of optical distribution and luminous outputs, some with specialty wavelengths for improved surgical illumination. All luminaires utilize remote power supplies and comply with radiated and conduction emissions requirements under MIL-STD-461G.

Fluence – SPYDR 2h Horticultural Luminaire

SPYDR 2h is a high-output, multi-tier grow light for commercial cannabis cultivators, producing PPF of 2,180 μmol/s at an efficacy of 2.75 μmol/J. The luminaire achieves an average 1,350 μmol × m-2 × s-1 PPFD at optimal crop height in typical 4-foot racks. PhysioSpec broad-white, R4, full-cycle spectrum supports propagation through senescence indoors.

Cosmicnode – Cosmicnode Wireless Platform

Cosmicnode’s HortiNXT platform combines IP68 controllers, a web interface, and wireless mesh connectivity to optimize greenhouse and indoor farm environments. Interoperability with established climate computing products ensures a robust and seamless experience for end users. Responsive technology manages lighting and environmental conditions according to schedules, plant growth metrics, and daylight harvesting.

nLight Controls – nLight AIR Wireless EM Solution

The nLight AIR EM solution deploys emergency backup lighting within 10 seconds of power loss in accordance with UL 924 requirements. It eliminates the need for dedicated wiring typically used to sense normal power versus emergency scenarios. The CLAIRITY+ mobile app reduces the need to use cycle breakers for quick tests.

Zaniboni Indoor Well-Being – OMNI Linear Recessed System

OMNI LR provides a recessed sensing capability that autonomously perceives natural daylight, noise level, and air quality while adapting to desired light, sound, temperature, and oxygen levels based on occupant preferences. The 4-inch wide solution establishes a Bluetooth mesh network at the room level for embedding IoT sensors with a simple line-voltage connection.

Cree LED – Photophyll Select LEDs

Photophyll Select phosphor-converted LEDs (shown here in a LightFair 2022 promo) feature blue and green spectral output tuned for horticulture to replace white LEDs commonly used in two-channel white + red luminaires. XLamp XP-G3 and J Series 2835 3V G Class devices are binned in horticultural metrics referencing PPF of spectral content to avoid translation of human visual metrics in product designs.

LTF Technology – Lite Stream D Wireless Dual Channel LED Drivers

With dual-channel driver technology, universal 100–277V input can be added to two-channel, constant-current COB or LED arrays to implement wireless human-centric or circadian luminaires. Wireless mesh networking capability via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi protocols supports CCT tuning, dimming, circadian control, scheduling, and voice automation without complex control modules or wiring.

GVA Lighting, Inc. – HL4 HIGHLIGHTER series Generation 4 Modular LED Lighting System

The fourth-generation architectural lighting system connects up to 1,500 feet in a single lighting circuit, enabled by INFINITY 380V DC technology. Color LEDs, RGBW, or RGBA options, 300-mm or 150-mm pixel resolution, and three optical distributions support color mixing and precise color control, and eliminate dark spots for direct or indirect view applications.

Axis Lighting – BalancedCare MRI Series Luminaires

BalancedCare MIL-STD-461G compliant, nonferrous, biophilic luminaires are available in multiple downlight, recessed, curved, undercabinet, sconce, and luminous ceiling (shown) form factors. Jurors commented that the sleek profiles and elevated aesthetics for improved patient comfort, in addition to Silent Source technology that reduces EMI to increase imaging quality, showed consideration for MRI application demands.

Evluma – RoadMax RX1

Available in wattages ranging from 30–70W to replace 70–150W HPS legacy fixtures, the RX1 luminaire features Type II, Type III, and Type V beam distributions; field-adjustable wattage selector; and 20-kV/10-kA surge protection. Light trespass shields help avoid glare at multiple angles while maintaining zero uplight. The ConnectLED app allows Bluetooth-controlled dimming and scheduling without control nodes or a lighting network.

Pharos Architectural Controls – Pharos Expert

A DMX and DALI control lineup designed for the architectural lighting market, Pharos Expert is a compact DIN rail unit with out-of-the-box test modes and simple connectors. A touchscreen wall station supports frequent user interaction. Commissioning software guides users through setup and lighting design on Windows or macOS systems, while Pharos Cloud allows remote management by installers and integrators to reduce site visits.

MARK Architectural Lighting – SLOT 1

The Declare listed SLOT 1 linear luminaire delivers up to 117 lm/W efficacy direct and up to 169 lm/W indirect illumination. Modulus low-voltage distributed capability reduces installation costs with a single power and control drop for up to 32-foot runs. Lens options include flush, edge view, top glow, 1/2-inch, 1-inch, and 1 1/2-inch drop lenses.

Fluxwerx Illumination – Lines

Only 3 inches in height and less than a finger’s width, Lines delivers comfortable area illumination from a narrow, 0.5-inch aperture. Available in 80 or 90 CRI and 3000K, 3500K, or 4000K CCT, the luminaire’s strategic LED selection, binning, and board designs ensure that chromaticity and color accuracy surpass industry standards — SDCM < 2.

McWong International – TruBlu Bluetooth mesh Fixture Controller with Long Range Antenna

The TruBlu controller’s IP65-rated antenna extends range up to 900 ft, eliminating “range anxiety” for commercially available outdoor fixtures without costly hard wiring. The DLC-listed controller allows continuous dimming, zone control, and luminaire-level lighting control in outdoor lighting networks. It can pair with an iOS app for setup and adjustments.

eldoLED – SOLOdrive 22W Small Form Factor LED Driver

With multiple form factors available, a minimum dimming level of 0.1% (Dim2Dark), adaptable dimming curves, and a programmable output current with 1-mA resolution, SFF drivers enable a range of compact luminaire designs. Supported control protocols include 0–10V, DALI-2, and LEDcode2 peripheral devices.

ERP Power LLC – CTM1AC Color LED Modules

The Zhaga-compliant CTM1AC LED module integrates AC driver electronics on board for precise light output control. Six channels of saturated LEDs enable color tuning throughout a wide range of the color gamut. The CTM1AC delivers 90+ CRI with SDCM < 2 across its tuning range. Warm-dim profiles for MR16 halogen and incandescent lamps and 12 selectable CCT color points are pre-programmed.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. – Samsung IR301A Enhanced NIR LED

Proprietary phosphor technology in the IR301A covers the “photo-bio modulation” (PBM) action spectrum shown to increase the production of ATP in the body to enhance skin and hair health. The device uniformly emits 620-, 680-, 760-, and 820-nm wavelengths from a single 3×3-nm LED package for integration into aesthetic and therapeutic devices.

Modular International – MI 579e LED Modules

MI 579e LED modules offer various luminous efficacies and delivered lumen values from 50-, 70-, and 90-mm size options in Modular Multiples fixtures. Modules are available with 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, and 4000K CCTs. Fixture housings can be customized to address a number of ceiling conditions.

GVA Lighting, Inc. – COLOR-STREAM Technology and Product Platform

COLOR-STREAM technology has been applied to GVA’s HL4, STR9-G4, FL-G2, Pixel-TW-G2, and PDC5 architectural lighting products for large-scale installations. It allows up to 700m, more than 2,000 nodes of monochromatic fixtures, or up to 450m RGBW to be connected in a single circuit. Up to 200-Hz frames/second refresh rate, up to 4,096 micro-steps of brightness, and 40-kHz dimming frequency generate smooth lighting transitions with dimming and other effects.

Cree LED – XLamp Pro9 LEDs

XLamp Pro9 LEDs operate at up to 105°C with 15% higher efficacy for 90 and 95 CRI emitters, maintaining lumen density and red color rendering while improving performance. All Pro9 LEDs share the same mechanical and electrical characteristics, and same maximum current, as standard versions. The family is available in COB and high-power discrete form factors to cover a broad range of design upgrades.

Optec LED Lighting – OLPG1 Parking Garage Luminaire

OLPG1 luminaires leverage a flat diffuse lens with indirect illumination to minimize glare. Five photometric patterned lenses address multiple garage applications. A low profile and quick-connect bracket simplify installation, while the tapered shape helps to minimize bird nesting. An optional uplight adder delivers about 800 lm to the ceiling.

A-Light – Wings Luminaire

Wings’ lightweight fabric tensioned shade shields the top reflector, which delivers an indirect batwing distribution via engineered perforations. Designed for disassembly, the luminaire’s sustainability features include a 60% recycled aluminum body that is 100% recyclable, and a Declare Red List Approved label for electrical wiring containing no PVC or FEP.

Nichia Corporation – Nichia’s Clear White Color LEDs

As the eye’s crystalline lens can yellow with age and result in difficulty perceiving short-wavelength light, Nichia Clear White Color LEDs have been engineered to optimize the light spectrum using its PFS narrowband red phosphor + TriGain Technology to illuminate objects more vividly and render text and images more clearly. The 3030 packaged LED delivers a typical 183 lm/W efficacy at 65 mA, 90+ CRI, and 7800K CCT.

Cree LED – XLamp Element G LEDs

The XE-G 2.05×1.6-mm package includes a large isolated thermal pad, Class 3 ESD protection, and minimal spacing between chip and package edge for tightly packed arrays. Available in 17 colors plus white, the LEDs are optimized for directional, multicolor applications. The XE-G lineup offers nearly three times the light output of XQ-E devices and more than nine times the lumen density of XP-E2 devices.

Cyclone Lighting Inc. – Tribeca Outdoor Luminaire

The Tribeca luminaire is designed with a slim profile and sculpted look to modernize roadways and pedestrian paths. A discreet push-button latch allows tool-free access for installation. A hidden integrated heat sink supports 12 performance packages at up to 34,000 lm, delivered from a 54 or 108 LED Orion light engine.

Current Lighting – Hazardous Location LED Replacement Lamps

Approved for Class 1, Division 2 hazardous locations, the UL-certified LED lamps offer a 250W/400W metal halide replacement. Omnidirectional light distribution mimics conventional HID lamps, allowing existing optical systems to be used. Compact form factors align with ANSI dimensions for traditional HIDs.

Acuity Brands – Gotham EVO 6-inch Downlight with CARE222 Technology

EVO 6-inch fixtures with CARE222 technology feature a patented excimer lamp and patent-pending dosing module that can provide a measured dosage of filtered 222-nm far UV-C light to inactivate viruses and bacteria in occupied and unoccupied spaces. Utilizing a batwing distribution and feathered edges, EVO luminaires provide uniform illumination on horizontal and vertical surfaces. Downlights are available with hybrid visible and far UV-C, UV only, and visible-light only options. Jurors appreciated the dimmability of visible-light models.

NX Lighting Controls (HLI brand of Current) – NX Dual Tech OMNI Sensor

The NX Dual Tech OMNI sensor, equipped with IntelliSCOPE technology, allows users to see ultrasonic and PIR data in real time from the NX Lighting Controls app, to adjust sensitivity and reduce false detections without climbing a ladder for modifications. One panelist noted the "multilingual communications" capability and reduced configuration time with the integral photocell's guided calibration and setup features for daylighting. Three color options blend in for quiet ceilings.

Nichia Corporation – NVSW719AC LED

With a standard 3.5-mm-square footprint, the NVSW719AC enables smaller luminaires with high luminance capability for spotlights and downlights, with a standard Ra ≥ 90, R9 ≥ 50. A 7500K Ra ≥ 70 version supports flashlights. The judging panel responded positively to the ability to design smaller luminaires with improved performance over previous light sources.

Lumileds – LUXEON Versat 3030 ST PCG LED

LUXEON Versat is a 3030 LED with a unique green emission spectrum enabled by an innovative phosphor conversion to deliver clear, crisp white light when matched with an appropriate red lens for automotive reverse lamps. Jurors complimented the "problem-solving approach to address both a functional need and aesthetic demand." Binning current and max current are 350 and 500 mA, respectively. Max junction temperature is 150°C to withstand harsh automotive environments.

Kenall Manufacturing – CleanSlot CRS4 Luminaire

SimpleSeal CleanSlot CRS4 comes in symmetric and asymmetric distributions, a tunable white option, and a recessed format for BSL 12 rated cleanroom spaces with lower footcandle requirements. Input power ranges from 4 to 12W/foot with delivered lumens from 408 to 1,248 lm/ft. The luminaires are IP65, ISO 3-9, NSF2, and USP 797-800 rated.

Carclo Optics – Tri-Extruded Wall Grazer 61079/Wall Washer 60180

Lauded by jurors for versatility and compatibility with a range of LED sources, the tri-extruded TIR optics use UV-stabilized polycarbonate to offer two beam angles for wall grazing and wall washing. The aluminum profile, silicone gaskets, and sealing strips provide robustness in indoor or outdoor environments. The diffusion layer provides a clearly defined beam angle without artifacts and minimal color separation.

ams Osram – OSCONIQ C 3030 LED

OSCONIQ C CSP LEDs’ small size allows dense clusters to replace multi-die devices for homogeneous illumination. Low thermal resistance, high color over angle, multiple CRI and CCT options, and a robust epoxy package provide stable performance and protection from corrosion and vibration in high-intensity flood, mast, and spotlighting applications. One juror highlighted the LED as "a step forward to better-performing outdoor lights."

LiteTrace Inc. – Keilton BH4 Series 4-pin LLLC Network Lighting Controls

The full OpenADR certified BH4 system includes sensors, controllers, and receptacles for incorporating Bluetooth wireless controls into luminaires. A low-profile design and twist-and-lock connection ease integration and removal of control receptacles on luminaires that will not interfere with luminaire housings or ceilings, a bonus for adding controls after luminaires are installed, said one juror. A black UL-rated, UV-resistant finish is available for outdoor sensors to blend with other hardware.

CARRIE MEADOWS is managing editor of LEDs Magazine, with 20-plus years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.