SSL Technology Update: November 12, 2012

In this week's update: Research and reports from the DOE and innovative starter kits for teams looking to develop LED retrofit lamps.

Round nine of Caliper testing focused on LED-based linear pendant fixtures. The DOE team comprehensively tested nine such products bought anonymously at retail, and also compared eleven products that were available in both LED and fluorescent versions. Six products were part of each test. The LED pendants performed well from an efficacy perspective, with measured results as high as 79 lm/W. But it was the comparison between fluorescent and LED versions of the same products that was most telling. Despite using the same general fixture design, the LED and fluorescent versions of the same products generated significantly different intensity distributions in most cases. The difference is clearly the omnidirectional tube relative to point LED sources. The differences aren't necessarily bad or good, but rather noteworthy. Lighting specifiers simply can't assume that an LED version of a product will perform similarly to a fluorescent version in a given application.

Meanwhile, the DOE released a Gateway report on the use of occupancy sensors in parking garages and parking lots with the goal of saving energy through dimming. In an underground garage, sensors and dimming delivered 74 to 88% energy savings. In an outdoor parking lot, the study revealed 57 to 86% savings. But the report notes a number of issues, such as false triggering and the need for better sensor technology.

In the funding area, the DOE announced two new small business innovation research grants for solid state lighting in the fiscal 2102 release. Universal Display Corporation will explore low-cost, single-layer outcoupling for OLED lighting. The company will focus on white OLED with a goal of doubling light extraction efficiency. And Applied Nanotech will study new thermal management techniques, focusing on new materials for circuit boards for high-power LEDs.

Back to the commercial side of solid-state lighting, LED Engin has a new ViviLux starter kit that can help product development teams accelerate projects. Specifically, the kit helps teams evaluate LED lighting in retrofit lamp applications. The kit includes a choice of 2700 or 3000 kelvin emitters and secondary optics that can deliver various beam widths for directional retrofit lamps. LED Engin says that designs based on the kit can deliver CRI of 90 and 85 lm/W.

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