An unconventional bug repellent

Imagine it’s a warm summer evening as you relax in your favorite lounge chair and soak in serenity. The sun begins to set, so you flip the porch lights on to continue reading the pages of the book you have just begun to feel absorbed in.

Abruptly, the peace ends and buzzing begins.

Artificial light attracts moths, flies, crane flies and even beetles, but arguably the most bothersome and harmful insect to join the aerial display of bugs around the bulb is the mosquito.

But why is it that insects are attracted to lights – often so much so that they are willing to burn to a crisp in attempt to get closer?

According to insects expert Debbie Hadley, night flying insects navigate by the moon, which reflects light at a constant angle, allowing insects to maintain a straight and steady flight path. Artificial lights, on the other hand, radiate light from all sides, thoroughly confusing and preventing insects from flying at a constant angle.

A recent study from The Royal Society, however, concluded that nocturnal arthropods, including mosquitoes, are substantially less attracted to LED lighting than light transmitted by compact fluorescents. Blue-free LED bulbs, in particular, were found to attract 20 percent fewer bugs than all other types of bulbs.

One of the major conclusions the scientists pulled from their research is that customized LED lighting could be beneficial for both people and the environment as a weapon against parasitic infections, such as West Nile virus and malaria.

Light & Mosquito

Still one of the leading causes of death in Africa and other areas, malaria kills an estimated 655,000 people every year, according to treehugger. Malaria is transmitted by female mosquitoes, specifically – which Bill Gates has deemed the deadliest animal on Earth.

Distributing LED bulbs amongst areas where mosquito-born diseases are common could help people have the necessary illumination at night without the risk of attracting more insects. Although there’s much room for improvement, the study claims its findings could be the catalyst for further progress in the fight against malaria, particularly as the cost of LEDs continues to decrease.

Sapphire Industry Watch – April 3

  • International Youth Culture Centre glows with colorful LED lighting – Gizmag: With 700,000 high-efficiency LED nodes, LED linear lighting and LED flood lighting, the International Youth Culture Centre in Nanjing, China is a colorful addition to the city’s skyline. The LED system’s palette of 16 million colors beautifully illuminates the development, while being more energy efficient than traditional LED lights. The system, which was designed by Philips, is reported to save up to 60 percent in electricity used compared to normal LED lights.
  • Seattle Mariners first team to use LED lights, last 97,000 more hours – UPI: Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners, is the first Major League Baseball stadium to fully illuminate its playing field with LED lights. In addition to reducing glares and shadows on the field, the LED lights turn on instantly and have reduced energy consumption for field lighting by up to 70 percent.
  • Rubicon appoints GTAT’s former VP of crystal growth systems development as CTO – Semiconductor Today: Dr. Christine Richardson has been appointed as Chief Technology Officer of Rubicon Technology. Formerly the Vice President of Crystal Growth Systems Development & Engineering at GT Advanced Technologies, Richardson will take responsibility for the ongoing development of Rubicon’s technology platforms and also lead R&D activities.
  • Solar flower trees to power up alternative lighting solutions – The Times of India: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has installed two solar flower trees in front of its headquarters as part of the state’s initiative to promote alternative lighting solutions in public spaces. The geometrically-cut flower-shaped solar panels generate power throughout the day and, if it’s sunny enough, LED lights attached to the petals can remain lit continuously for up to 12 hours.

The Evolution of the Efficiency of the Light Bulb

On January 1, 2014, the classic 60-watt incandescent light bulb was banned in the United States forever.

Along with the U.S., governments across the world have developed and passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives. Led originally by Brazil and Venezuela in 2005, these phase-out regulations have effectively banned the manufacturing, importation and sale of incandescent light bulbs for lighting purposes. The regulations will only allow future incandescent bulbs to be sold if they meet specific energy efficiency criteria.

The classic light bulb was abolished in an effort to transition the U.S. to new and more efficient lighting technologies-known as light-emitting diodes (LEDs)-for the benefit of nationwide energy savings.

Following the incandescent bulb ban, compact fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs became the most popular alternatives. CFLs are the size of a standard bulb but have spindly, spiraling fluorescent tubes in place of filament. For their time, fluorescent light bulbs were a big step forward in terms of efficiency; however, nowadays LEDs surpass CFLs across all categories.

The chart below sheds some light on the evolution of the efficiency of the light bulb.

Incandescents vs. CFLs vs. LEDs

Adapted from: http://www.designrecycleinc.com/led comp chart.html

While prices on LED bulbs can vary widely from state to state, most coming to market these days are approximately $10. While this may sound expensive, LEDs make up the difference through energy cost savings and longevity.

As you can see, LEDs can last over six times longer than CFLs-with a calculated life span of 23 years if the bulb is on three hours per day-and the annual operating cost of an LED is less than half of that of a CFL. Since the lighting in our homes accounts for about one-quarter of our electricity bills, LEDs are the best way to save yourself some money in the long run.

Major cities across the country are receiving LED lighting upgrades and experiencing the economic and environmental benefits. As prices continue to fall, the adoptions and applications of LEDs are seemingly limitless.

LEDs Shine Brighter with Patterned Sapphire Substrates (PSS)

LEDs are being adopted across a wide range of products, from general lighting, automobile headlights and traffic signals, to backlighting for consumer devices like HDTVs, smartphones and tablets.

Evidence of that, LED manufacturers racing to improve luminous output and reduce cost in order to win greater market share.

The July/August 2014 issue of LEDs Magazine features Rubicon Technology’s Donggeun Ko, Jacob Yoon and Jangho Seo, who discuss how applying patterns on an LED substrate or wafer can significantly help increase LED light extraction.

In fact, it’s reported that patterning can improve the extraction of light by as much as 30 percent.

The article in LEDs Magazine outlines key considerations for effective PSS design to maximize light output of LED chips, such as reducing defect density and total internal reflection losses.

The full article in LEDs Magazine can be viewed here.

It’s also worth mentioning …

Today, sapphire wafer manufacturers have begun to put patterns on sapphire wafers in partnership with the LED chip manufacturers, with most sapphire manufacturers concentrating on small diameter patterning in the 2-to-4 in. range.

Manufacturers of large diameter wafers, such as Rubicon Technology, are developing PSS for large wafers (up to 8 in. diameters) and differentiating their offerings with better quality control and an unmatched end-to-end manufacturing process.

Interested in learning more? Check out additional info about patterned sapphire substrates here.

Cities Worldwide Tap LEDs to Make Skylines Sparkle

The world’s skylines are changing. They’re no longer bathed in white light or neon. Thanks to new programmable LEDs, today’s city skylines are transformed into rainbows of light promoting good causes, events and company brands in every color imaginable that can change nightly.

But first let’s take a look at how lighting in cities got its start. Skylines and exhibitions played an early role in promoting lighting. Perhaps one of the most notable points in the history of lighting is the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 set the stage for promoting the wonder of electric lighting. In fact it was a big part in the race to light the world between Westinghouse backing Nicola Tesla (inventor of alternating current) and General Electric, owned by JP Morgan and Thomas Edison (inventor of light bulbs and direct current).

Westinghouse outbid Edison for the contract to light and power the fair. More than 200,000 white incandescent bulbs, using Tesla’s polyphase alternating current system, amazed crowds as they lit up the world’s fair at night. How did they beat out Edison? They under-bid Edison and GE banned them from using Edison light bulbs in retaliation for losing the bid. To light the fair, Westinghouse and Tesla sidestepped Edison’s light bulb patents with a new double stopper light bulb.

Here’s a photo from the Chicago World’s Fair at night. Just imagine how impressive this display of light must have been to a population used to gas lights and candles.

Chicago World's Fair 1893

Chicago World’s Fair 1893

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to today. LED lighting systems have given rise to a whole new look to a city skyline. Here are a few of the more colorful city skylines bathed in LED lighting.

New York, New York

New York City Skyline

New York City Skyline

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline

Chicago, IL

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline bathed in pink for Breast Cancer Month

Dubai

Dubai Skyline

Dubai Skyline

For Further Reading

NY Post, City’s towers in LED arms race to get brightest spot in skyline, http://nypost.com/2014/03/23/citys-towers-in-led-arms-race-to-get-brightest-spot-in-skyline/

City Lab, How LEDs Have Transformed the City Skyline, http://www.citylab.com/design/2013/07/how-leds-have-transformed-city-skyline/6382/

NY Post, High-tech LEDs turning NYC skyline into a lightshow, http://nypost.com/2014/01/15/high-tech-leds-turning-nyc-skyline-into-a-lightshow/

 

Urban Farming Goes Vertical with LEDs

Green Sense Farms vertical LED farm warehouse

Green Sense Farms vertical LED farm warehouse

We like to report on interesting applications using LEDs. This latest application we are focusing on takes LEDs and combines them with farming to leverage unique properties – temperature and wavelenghths —  of LEDs to grow more, better plants, indoors without the use of pesticides.

Chicago’s Green Sense Farms takes advantage of LEDs to make the largest indoor commercial vertical farm in the United States. According to a report in Gizmodo, Green Sense Farms recently announced two new huge climate-controlled grow rooms in its Chicago-area production warehouse. Green Sense Farms combines towering racks of vertical hydroponic systems with Philips “light recipe” LED grow lights.

Philips is building a database of ‘light recipes’ for different plant varieties since each plant has its own needs for light. A Philips Horticulture “light recipe” is an instruction based on knowledge of how to use light to grow a certain crop under certain conditions. Because LEDs produce less heat than traditional lighting, the light fixtures can be placed much closer to the crops without fear of burning them— reducing the vertical farm’s footprint and ensuring that each leaf gets the light it needs.

Using the system, Green Sense Farms is able to harvest its crops 26 times a year while using 85 percent less energy, 1/10th the amount of water, no pesticides or herbicides, and reducing the facility’s CO2 output by two tons a month. And, to make the Earth a better place, it even produces an average of 46 pounds of oxygen daily.

For Further Reading

Gizmodo, Chicago’s Huge Vertical Farm Glows Under Countless LED Suns, http://gizmodo.com/chicagos-huge-vertical-farm-farm-glows-under-countless-1575275486

Substrate Update: It’s All About Patterning & Large Diameter Wafers

yole_developpement_logoMarket research firm Yole Developpement recently published a new report on front-end manufacturing trends for LEDs. Their latest report gives us some very good news about the sapphire market. Semiconductor Today reported on Yole’s analysis. Here are some big take-aways:

  • There is increased demand for larger-diameter sapphire wafers, with big players (such as LG, Sharp or Osram) moving to 6” wafers and Taiwanese players moving to 4” wafers.
  • LED chip makers demand more patterned sapphire substrates (PSS). PSS are now mainstream in the market with an 87% share as of Q1 2014.
  • While some companies (such as Soraa and Toshiba) have begun mass production of gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) and GaN-on-GaN LEDs, market penetration of these alternative substrates will depend on future improvements in terms of performance and cost.  Without these improvements, alternative substrates will not be able to fully compete with sapphire-based LEDs.

What does this mean for sapphire makers? LED chip manufacturers are looking to gain production efficiencies, lower costs, and increase performance for their LEDs.  As the adoption for LED lighting increases, they need to make more and better performing LEDs. Large diameter sapphire wafers enable more throughput for each run of the MOCVD reactor, making better use of the reactor “real estate” and decreasing the cost per unit of area processed. Depending on the type of MOCVD reactor used, LED chip manufacturers using six-inch wafer platforms may achieve up to 48% greater usable area per reactor run as compared to two-inch wafers.

What does PSS offer? First, PSS helps improve epitaxial growth by promoting growth of the GaN in parallel to the substrate surface. This helps reduce the number of dislocations, called the dislocation density, which can degrade performance of an LED.  Secondly, patterning can help extract as much as 30 percent more light from an LED.  This is particularly advantageous for high brightness LEDs (HB LEDs) that are used in LED lighting applications.

LED chip manufacturers have been buying smaller 2-inch and 4-inch PSS from outside suppliers for years.  The next step in the evolution in the market is the migration to large diameter PSS. Already a pioneer in the development of large diameter sapphire substrates, Rubicon Technology has developed capabilities for large diameter PSS making it possible to manufacture 6-inch and even 8-inch PSS. Rubicon is already gaining traction in the PSS market.  The company recently reported in their Q1 2014 earnings call that they received their first order for PSS and have samples out to more than a dozen LED chip manufacturers.

For more information about the report from Yole, visit http://www.i-micronews.com/reports/LED-Front-End-Manufacturing-Trends-report/14/433

For Further Reading

Semiconductor Today, Substrates shaping trends in LED front-end manufacturing, http://www.semiconductor-today.com/news_items/2014/APR/YOLE_300414.shtml

Clearlysapphire.com, Larger Wafers, Larger Yield – The Numbers Behind Large Diameter Sapphire Wafers and Yield, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=435

Clearlysapphire.com, Large Diameter Patterned Sapphire Substrates Explained, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=582

Clearlysapphire.com, Sapphire Substrates for LED: The Big Move Toward 6″ Has Already Started, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=37

Have LED Light Bulb Questions? Infographics & Such to “Enlighten”

Angie's List Infographic - LEDs

Angie’s List Infographic – LEDs

A lot of companies are participating in the new LED light bulb market, also called Solid State Lighting or SSL. These companies can be LED light bulb makers or participate by making some component of the LED light bulb ranging from heat sinks and LED chips to the sapphire growers, polishers and fabricators that make the foundation of the LED, the sapphire chip. All of them have a vested interest in helping consumers understand LED light bulbs and why they are different from CFLs and traditional incandescent light bulbs. We’ve gathered together some resources to help consumers understand their lighting options.

The US Department of Energy is leading the effort to educate consumers about their new lighting options and have enlisted companies that participate in the LED lighting market to help. The DOE has developed some very good resources on their own web site for the industry, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/. But they’ve also developed resources for consumers to learn more about their lighting choices. Some sample resources for consumers to learn more about LED lighting include a good FAQ here, http://energy.gov/articles/askenergysaver-led-lights.

The Federal Trade Commission requires a new lighting label, Lighting Facts, on all light bulb packages to help consumers understand what they’re buying. Optical and lighting publication Novus Light Today wrote about these new labeling requirements featuring an infographic from light bulb manufacturer Cree.

Cree, Lighting Facts Infographic

Cree, Lighting Facts Infographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of these companies as well as consumer groups are producing infographics to help the consumer learn more. Here’s a round-up of links to additional resources for learning more about LEDs.

Angie’s List, Infographic: What’s in a light bulb?,

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/infographic-whats-light-bulb.htm

The information in the Angie’s List infographic is great, except for the pricing. LED light bulbs have gone down quite a bit in price with some at retailers in the US coming in at just under $10 and a few others cost less and are even more affordable when combined with rebates and other special offers.

Philips, The LED Lighting Revolution, http://community.lighting.philips.com/servlet/JiveServlet/showImage/102-1201-34-4943/Infographic_LED+Revolution_Philips+2012.png

Light bulb vendor Philips compiled a nice all around look at the energy-saving benefits of LED light bulbs and translates them into benefits for the environment and life.

Lumican, Can LED lighting really save energy and money?, http://lumican.com/portfolio-items/can-led-lighting-really-save-energy-and-money/

Canadian lighting solutions provider Lumican highlights US Department of Energy statistics and compares energy usage and savings of LED, halogen, CFL and traditional light bulbs.

LiveScience, NRDC Guide to Light Bulbs, http://www.livescience.com/42509-goodbye-to-old-lightbulbs.html

The NRDC does a great job at comparing LED light bulbs to CFLs and traditional incandescent light bulbs and gives a good explanation at the new light bulb packaging required by the US government.

We’ve also covered LEDs vs. CFLs on the Clearlysapphire blog. You can read them, here:

Clearlysapphire.com, Incandescent Extinction – Which light bulb will win? LED vs. CFL? http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=601

Clearlysapphire.com, Confused about Your Home Lighting? – LED, CFL and Incandescent Compared, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=492

Clearlysapphire.com, Tipping Point 2: Finally, A Sub $10 LED Light Bulb, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=371

Clearlysapphire.com, Tipping Point: Earth Day, 100W Light Bulb Reprieve and Alexander Hamilton, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=169

LED Spotlight: Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris Goes LED

notre dame paris cathedral photos LED 11

Recently, a familiar European landmark got an illuminating facelift: Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. The famous 13th century gothic cathedral was retrofitted with a new LED lighting system by Philips, designed by Benoit Ferré, the resident bishop’s architect (European Architecture Company, EUROGIP). The project used a total of more than 400 luminaires with an installed capacity of just 30 kW, compared with almost 140 kW previously – reducing energy consumption by 80 percent.

The 400 luminaires are controlled by an easy-to-use touch-pad operated computerized system.  The system contains several lighting programs that can change the lighting due to the requirements of the day and Notre-Dame’s manager can add more if required. Almost all of the luminaires are dimmable, making it possible to modify the lighting according to the event taking place (ceremonies, concerts, prayers, etc.), the time of day, or the season.

The new lighting highlights two key works of art:

The Virgin and Child — This statue, moved to Notre-Dame in 1818, is the most famous of the thirty-seven representations of the Virgin that the cathedral contains. The LED lighting, using profile spots, redefines the characters while at the same time shining a gentle light onto the sculpture and the white flowers laid out at her feet.

The north and south rose windows — Made in the 13th century, the windows symbolize the flowers of paradise. Positioned discretely above the north and south doors more than 50 meters from the windows, two 250W LED spotlights shine onto each rose window, revealing the delicacy of the sculptures. Since they are invisible, the lighting gives the impression that the stained-glass window itself is radiating light.

For Further Reading

Artinfo, Notre Dame Refitted with LED Lights, http://blogs.artinfo.com/artintheair/2014/03/17/notre-dame-refitted-with-led-lights/

Philips, Philips lights up Notre-Dame as never seen before, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2014/20140312-philips-lights-up-notre-dame-as-never-seen-before.wpd#.U07GHPl90xE

LEDs, Sleep and SAD –Innovations in Light

Philips Wake Up Light

Philips Wake Up Light

In the past, most people just bought light bulbs without a thought. It was simply about light. There weren’t many extra considerations. Today’s lighting purchase might be made with intelligent applications and even therapeutic reasons in mind, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Light can help prevent or lessen the symptoms of SAD. According to WebMD, as many as 3% of Americans can suffer from SAD in the winter. When people are exposed to less natural light they may develop depression and anxiety, oversleep, and even have difficulty concentrating. Some people who live in extreme areas that depend on artificial light during long winter months without sunlight can use artificial light derived from LED light bulbs for some SAD relief.

Until now, most SAD sufferers needed special light boxes for SAD-related light therapy. LEDs are a natural light therapy source. Light from almost all LEDs used for lighting, displays and even TVs tend to naturally skew towards the blue part of the spectrum. Blue light stimulates a photoreceptor in the eye that reduces the production of the hormone melatonin and helps people stay awake.

LED lighting companies have begun to leverage blue light for those with seasonal disorders and even sleep issues.

Philips tackled the issue of the lack of light during polar winter in a town in the Arctic, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, where they experience dark for four months straight. Longyearbyen is the northernmost town in the world with 2,000 inhabitants (outnumbered by 3,000 polar bears). For two months, 186 volunteers used the Philips Wake-up Light for a study.  Already proven to work in a number of independent clinical studies, the Philips Wake-up Light was used to help wake up the volunteers with gradually increasing LED light prior to the alarm.

After using the Philips Wake-up Light for six weeks during the polar winter, 87% of residents said that they wake up feeling more refreshed, alert and ready for the day. Philips reported that 98% of residents said they would continue to use the Philips Wake-up Light rather than their previous method of waking up.  You can see a video about the experiment here.

Philips also has designed Philips goLITE BLU to help stave off the winter blues. The goLITEBLU provides the right level of blue light to help regulate a body’s clock and improve mood and energy levels. It is more efficient than traditional white light boxes, producing more concentrated light in a considerably smaller form factor.

For those challenged to wake up without hitting the snooze button repeatedly, there’s the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light that leverages both music and light to wake you up.  Here’s a link to an entertaining review written by a snooze button addict from Gizmodo.

Lighting Science’s Awake and Alert LED lamp brings more blue light to help people stay awake, while the company’s Good Night light reduces the blue light to help people sleep. The company also has designed the Rhythm Downlight with an app that can keep a sleep schedule for shift workers, those in extra long nights in cold climates and even those in space. The app syncs up with a specially designed digital LED light bulb. When it’s time to begin waking, the bulb will emit more blue light to help you wake up. But when it’s time go to sleep, the percentage of blue light is reduced, turning on your melatonin so you can sleep.

For Further Reading

Discover Magazine, Smart Bulb Helps You Sleep and Wake on Schedule, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/04/04/smart-bulb-helps-you-sleep-and-wake-on-schedule/#.U0K5m_l90xF

The New York Times, LEDs Change Thinking about the Light Bulb, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/06/technology/personaltech/leds-change-thinking-about-the-light-bulb.html?_r=0

Philips, Philips Wake Up the Town, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wotUrbYs0QI

Philips, Wake up the Town: Arctic Experiment Results, http://www.digitalnewsroom.philips.com/pressreleases/Wakeup_light_campaign/Philips_Wake_up_the_town_Final_results_report.pdf

Gizmodo, A Light-Up Alarm Completely Changed My Life, http://gizmodo.com/a-light-up-alarm-completely-changed-my-life-1535668863

The Business Standard, Lights are no longer just for lighting, http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/lights-are-no-longer-just-for-lighting-114031401155_1.html