SSL Technology Update: September 10, 2012

In this week's update: Are GaN-on-GaN LEDs closer to reality than previously thought? Update on our latest Webcast; DOE updates its SSL manufacturing roadmap; and OLEDs still trail LEDs in cost, but Plextronics hopes to change that.

Back at Strategies in Light in February, startup Soraa was a keynote presenter revealing its technology for producing GaN-on-GaN LEDs. The homogenous composition of substrate and epitaxial layers makes sense and should enable greater light output, but at the time we wondered about the supply and cost of GaN wafers. That question will be answered soon, as Soraa and Japanese lighting manufacturer Ushio announced that the latter will begin selling MR16 lamps using Soraa LEDs in November. The cost and availability of those lamps will say a lot about the GaN wafer supply.

We held a Webcast last week entitled "Packaged LED overview -- Manufacturers design new components targeting specific applications" that focused on how manufacturers are developing single- and multi-emitter LED designs to target specific applications from directional retrofit lamps such as MR16s to street lights. The presentation described the component manufacturing challenge with different LED architectures and what luminaire developers and lighting designers should know. If you missed it, view the archive.

There was news in the manufacturing area related to both LEDs and OLEDs last week. The DOE published its 2012 SSL Manufacturing R&D roadmap. LEDs are projected to account for less than 10% of the manufacturing cost of a 60W equivalent retrofit lamp by 2015. Packaging will remain the dominant cost component in a packaged LED as component manufacturing costs drop.

The DOE says that OLED source costs won't drop to that 10% level for luminaires until 2020. Still, the DOE is expecting OLED panel costs to drop to $30 per kilo lumen by 2015, whereas Philips Lighting recently placed the current cost at $800 per kilo lumen.

In separate OLED news, printed-electronics specialist Plextronics has partnered with The Holst Center from the Netherlands to collaborate on research. The partners hope to perfect roll-to-roll processing of OLEDs that are scalable in size. The manufacturing process could greatly reduce the price of panels for lighting and signage applications.

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