Bridgelux begins volume shipment of fifth-generation LED chip

June 6, 2008
Bridgelux says that it has developed advanced chip technology and low cost-per-lumen products without resorting to complex, low yield thin-film techniques.
LED maker Bridgelux has announced commercial availability of its new NLX-5 high-power gallium nitride (GaN) LED chip. As Bridgelux’s fifth-generation chip, the NLX-5 offers a 15-20 percent performance improvement over its predecessors.

The company says that its chip, when embedded in a customer’s standard, cool white LED package, provides a typical light output of 85–90 lumens at 350 mA current.

Bridgelux says that it continues to improve the performance of its LED chips based on a low-cost manufacturing technology that has been abandoned by others in the industry in favor of thin-film LED architectures. These are, says Bridgelux, ultimately more complex and costly.

The thin-film approach, which is used by Osram, Lumileds and Cree among others, involves the growth of LED chip structures on a starting substrate such as sapphire or silicon carbide, followed by the removal of this substrate.

“By merging our innovative chip designs with traditional sapphire-based LED chip architectures, we’ve increased LED performance on a very robust, high-yield technology platform,” said Bridgelux’s Director of R&D, Steve Lester.

“Many companies have believed that high-light extraction was only possible with the removal of the sapphire substrate. Our team has pushed the technology to achieve higher performance without sapphire removal and its typically negative impact upon yield and cost."

Lester also said that, based on current R&D results, the company projects that by later this year it can provide an additional 10-15 percent improvement, utilizing this same high-power LED technology platform. Further performance improvements are anticipated over the next 12 months.

Bridgelux believes that the NLX-5 chip will enable its customers to offer low cost-per-lumen LED packages, which in turn will help to speed market adoption of solid-state lighting applications into the general lighting market.