In Tribute: Recognizing the life and work of LED pioneer Roland Haitz

Aug. 18, 2015
SSL luminary and author of Haitz's Law has passed away at the age of 80, but his LED legacy will live long into the future through a revolution in lighting.

SSL luminary and author of Haitz's Law has passed away at the age of 80, but his LED legacy will live long into the future through a revolution in lighting.

Dr. Roland Haitz passed away in his Portola Valley, CA home back in late June at the age of 80 after a long career in technology with a decided focus on LED technology. We offer this article as a tribute to Haitz's life and accomplishments and the profound impact that Haitz had in solid-state lighting (SSL). Indeed, Haitz foresaw the transition to LED-based lighting long before most and is perhaps most famous for his projection on the progression of LED technology that came to be called Haitz's Law.

Haitz first publicly postulated Haitz's Law at the Strategies in Light conference in 2000. Long considered the parallel of the semiconductor industry's Moore's Law, Haitz's Law asserted an exponential increase in lumen output from packaged LEDs and a corresponding reduction in dollar per lumen. Moreover, Haitz projected that SSL products would reach efficacy of 200 lm/W by 2020. The projections have proven very accurate through the evolution of LED technology over the last 15 years.

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The most comprehensive account of Haitz's life and career achievements can be found on the QuarkStar website. QuarkStar is a startup focused on integrating optical features that can better control light distribution for SSL products. After presumably retiring from the industry, Haitz joined QuarkStar at the age of 76 and even filed his last patent not long before his passing.

Haitz worked for most of his career with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and companies that spun out of HP including Agilent Technologies, Lumileds, and Avago. QuarkStar noted that Haitz led the development of many light-emitting technologies that became very widely used in applications ranging from handheld calculators to exterior automotive lighting.

Still, it was Haitz's vision for how far LED technology would advance that stands out as we witness a global transition to LED sources in general illumination. And even in his final months, Haitz continued to look forward according to the QuarkStar account. In some of his last comments on SSL technology, Haitz said, "Solid-state lighting is where the Internet was in the 1980s. Just as we could not then have predicted what the Internet is now, 30 years later, we cannot foresee all that light and lighting will become in the next decades. We know simply that it will be wondrous and beautiful."

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.