SSL Technology Update: January 29, 2013

Jan. 30, 2013
In this week's update: A movement in the SSL industry to relax efficacy requirements of high-CRI LED lamps and thereby accelerate adoption; SEMI projects LED manufacturing investments for 2013 and publishes its first LED-centric standard; and did LEDs damage valuable artwork?

LED and MR16-lamp manufacturer Soraa is spearheading a coalition of interested parties that is asking the United States Environmental Protection Agency to lower efficacy requirements for LED-based retrofit lamps with high-end color rendering. The group that includes researchers, lighting designers, and manufacturers is concerned that the efficacy requirements in the current Energy Star Lamps specification will result in slower uptake of LED-based products, because high-CRI lamps will not be able to hit the required efficacy. The group is arguing that a lower requirement would actually boost energy savings across the US because more LED-based lamps will be installed. The coalition is asking for a 5-10 lm/W reduction in various omnidirectional, directional, and decorative categories for lamps with a CRI of 90 or above.

The SEMI organization that is focused on the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain has released a projection of LED manufacturing investments for 2013. The organization is predicting a 9.2% decline in spending on manufacturing equipment in 2013. In part the decline is based on excess capacity as manufacturers installed equipment aggressively over the past few years. But other factors come into play as well such as the fact that higher-performing, brighter LEDs result in he use of fewer LEDs per lamp or luminaire.

The organization also recently published a high-brightness LED standard that is specific to sapphire substrates. The standard defines dimensions, wafer preparation requirements, and test methods for 150-mm or 6-inch substrates. That work will enable more of the LED industry to migrate to manufacturing on larger wafers and should ultimately reduce LED prices.

There had been a report out of publications and a university in Europe that cited LED lighting as having damaged some works or art by masters such as Van Gogh. Over the course of the past few years, numerous museums in North America have tested LED lighting and generally found it to be superior to alternatives in terms of protecting works of art, because LEDs don’t generate energy in the ultra violet or infrared spectrum. So the news from Europe arrived as somewhat of a surprise. Soraa took the lead in investigating the reports and found that LEDs weren't at all the culprit. The scientists had actually used a Xenon lamp in the tests according to Soraa, and the company stated that the study had been loosely and irresponsibly associated with LED lighting.