Sapphire Awards Illumineer finalists bring SSL advances to light (UPDATED)

Jan. 7, 2019
The LEDs Magazine Sapphire Awards program nears its annual finale, revealing the shortlist of 2019 Illumineer of the Year finalists.

The LEDs Magazine Sapphire Awards program nears its annual finale, revealing the shortlist of 2019 Illumineer of the Year finalists.

Now in its fifth year, the 2019 LEDs Magazine Sapphire Awards program is nearing its culmination with the first round of submission reviews resulting in the shortlist for Illumineer of the Year finalists. The prestigious Illumineer of the Year honor will be bestowed upon an individual or team who has developed innovative technology that enables high-quality lighting products while lowering operational and/or product costs. The technology may not yet be evident in commercially available products but would need to demonstrate commercial viability and value.

The Illumineer finalists will be honored, along with the finalists in the SSL product categories, at the Sapphire Awards Gala on Thursday, Feb. 28, in Oceanside Ballroom D at the Mandalay Bay hotel and convention center in Las Vegas, NV. The Gala takes place during the week of the Strategies in Light conference and exhibition, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019. Join our team and advisors for an evening of fine dining and entertainment as we count down to the awards presentation. Chief editor Maury Wright will host the event. The evening’s festivities will include close-up magician PiP; a performance by LED percussion troupe the Las Vegas Golden Knights Drumbots; and a champagne-serving aerialist. Those interested in attending the Gala can register and purchase tickets on the Sapphire Awards website.

We have also placed a poll on our website so that you can help us select this year's Illumineer of the Year. Visit the homepage to cast your vote by ranking the finalists, and take part in the process of recognizing your peers for their achievements in the SSL industry.

Keep reading to learn more about the Illumineer finalists and the LED-centric technology innovations or SSL products for which they were nominated. Bookmark our website as we’ll reveal the finalists across all SSL technology categories soon.

Illumineer of the Year finalists:

  • Jy Bhardwaj, chief technology officer; Parijat Deb, vice president of epitaxy technology; Danielle Chamberlin, PhD, senior director of converter technology; Ashish Tandon, senior director of device technology R&D; and Oleg Shchekin, vice president of device architecture — Lumileds
  • Martin Moore-Ede, MD, chief executive officer; John Luciani, director of engineering — Circadian Light
  • Tigran Galstian, PhD, chief technology officer — LensVector; professor of engineering physics at Université Laval

The submission essays form a significant portion of the Illumineer entries, providing insight regarding the nominees’ involvement in furthering LED and SSL technology, scientific knowledge that contributes to commercialization, and/or the advancement of applications. Applicants had the following to say about each of the Illumineer nominations.


“Over the past 12 months, under the leadership of CTO Jy Bhardwaj, Lumileds has realized a series of ground-breaking innovations and market firsts, enabling some of the most sophisticated designs in the lighting industry. […] The team’s innovation in LED device and product development was unparalleled in 2018 and put us in position for even greater advances in 2019. Lumileds’ coherent set of technologies allows for substantial performance gains at the fixture level, in most cases using optics already in use. By adding the creation of new phosphors with narrowband emission, luminous efficacy has been further improved, better color rendering is enabled and spectral distributions can be further optimized to the demands of specific applications, including horticulture, medical fields, and to support a healthier lit environment.”

Circadian Light

“With mounting evidence that light can both entrain and disrupt circadian rhythms and impact human health and wellbeing, there is a critical need for the lighting industry to define the circadian spectral characteristics of light and to develop dynamic lighting solutions to address this risk. Over the past five years, Circadian Light has accomplished both tasks: creating evidence-based specifications for workplace circadian lighting, and developing specialized LED chips, control systems, and luminaires for 24/7 operations. […] While other research teams have studied short-term exposure (up to 90 minutes) to monochromatic lights and found short wavelengths are much more potent than long wavelengths in suppressing melatonin, Circadian wanted to replicate normal workplace conditions. They studied freely moving human subjects under 500 lux (table top) polychromatic white light for 12-hour work shifts to more precisely define the circadian potent wavelengths under real world conditions.”


“Dr. Tigran Galstian […] is the holder of Canada’s Tier-1 Chair in ‘Liquid Crystals and Behavioral Biophotonics.’ His group is investigating the molecular self-organization mechanisms and their impact on the key material (optical+) properties, as well as their influence on the behavior of molecules (such as chiral diffusion) and living microorganisms (such as bacteria) in such systems. […] The transformation of lighting to LED lighting has enabled the industry to harness efficiency and, more recently, to be able to harness control over a quality spectrum or color of light. This significant innovation in liquid-crystal lens technology now enables lighting to practically and economically address one of the most important properties of light — namely, the shape and distribution of light that we all interact with in interior and exterior space. Dr. Galstian is a true pioneer, innovator, and significant contributor to the art and science of illumination with his vision for the future, where truly smart lighting is free to adapt to our needs, emotions, and endeavors through dynamic beam shaping.”

LEDs Magazine’s Sapphire Awards program was launched in 2014 to recognize achievements in the LED and SSL sectors, representing technologies and people driving LED technology forward and revolutionizing the lighting industry. Past Illumineer of the Year award recipients include:

  • The Lumileds team of Eric Senders, Bob Zona, Rene Helbing, Mushfeque Manzur, and Catherine Othick for their work on the Luxeon COB (chip-on-board) LED with CrispWhite technology (2015)
  • Brian Chemel, co-founder of Digital Lumens (now part of Osram), for the LightRules software-based lighting management system and working toward advances in networks/controls for smart buildings (2016)
  • Alexander Wilm, Osram Opto Semiconductors, for his contributions to SSL development not only at the company but in the lighting industry, including color quality and efficacy efforts for LEDs (2017)
  • Tanuj Mohan, Enlighted (now part of Siemens Building Technologies Division), for the development of the Enlighted sensor-based networking system for smart buildings (2018)

Again, we remind you to place your vote for the Illumineer of the Year by visiting the homepage for the poll.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more Sapphire Awards updates, Gala announcements, and, of course, the winners reveal!

*Updated Jan. 8, 2019 3:43 PM to include poll information.

*Updated Jan. 16, 2019 9:30 AM for Lumileds team details.