- LAX unveils new energy efficient lighting scheme – Airport World: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has debuted a host of new energy efficient lighting features, including new LED light poles and a “lightband”, which are currently featuring a light show displaying the colors of the Special Olympic World games, which will be held in Los Angeles this summer. The new lighting features mark the completion of Phase II of the LAX Central Terminal Area Curbside Appeal and Roadway Improvement Project that began in Spring 2014.
- Blue LED lighting to kill food-borne pathogens without chemical treatment – Airfal International: Scientists from the National University of Singapore have found that blue LEDs have a strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens, particularly in cold temperatures and mildly acidic conditions. Originally published in Food Microbiology, these findings could potentially be applied to preserve fresh-cut fruits or chilled meat products, without requiring any further chemical treatments.
- Large lighting makers continue to transition to LEDs – Semiconductor Today: As the lighting market continues to make the shift towards LED technology, IHS Technology forecasts LED lamp revenue will grow to 67% by 2022. A growing market for LED lighting technology has consequently resulted in a shrinking market for halogen, compact fluorescent lamps and other traditional lighting technologies.
- Government committed to making LED a way of life in India – The Hindu Business Line: Over the next three years, the Indian government aims to completely replace all incandescent bulbs in the country with LED lights, offering a huge business opportunity for the lighting industry. The government also seeks to impose quality standards on lighting products that are imported into the country.
- The Hidden Perils of Energy Efficient Fluorescent Lighting – Sourceable: Fluorescent lamps have long been seen as a source of energy efficient lighting, but they pose a threat to the environment and human health as a result of their mercury content. Besides being greener in nature, LED light bulbs are devoid of mercury, making them the preferred alternative to fluorescent lamps when it comes to energy efficient lighting.
- With LED Lights, Automakers Reveal All the Road We Cannot See – New York Times: Thanks to LEDs, automotive lighting is undergoing a quiet revolution that is leading to new vehicle designs and providing enhanced nighttime safety. By combining LED lamps with cameras, a vehicle’s headlights can continuously alter their light patterns to exactly fit road conditions.
- Green Focused People Power LEDs – The Asian Age: India’s LED light industry is continuing to grow thanks to public awareness and government energy conservation initiatives. According to recent data from the Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers Association of India, LED lights are likely to account for about 60 percent of the total lighting industry by 2020.
- Implications for LEDs of The Shift to Large-Diameter Sapphire Wafers – Semiconductor Today (Pgs. 68-71): Rubicon Technology’s senior VP of operations, Faisal Nabulsi, explains the changes in the sapphire wafer market over the past two years, and how large diameter and patterned sapphire substrates are impacting LED manufacturing.
- 3D-printable AstroGro System To Foster Astronaut’s Green Thumbs – Gizmag: As manned missions beyond Earth’s orbit become closer to a reality, one of the main challenges is feeding the crew without the possibility of resupply from home. Looking to solve the problem, AstroGro designed a 3D-printed device for growing food. It consists of plastic pods equipped with LED lights, a watering system, and an electronic monitoring system that uses artificial intelligence to provide optimum growing conditions. If natural light is lacking, the LED lights provide supplemental light at the desired frequency.
- New LED Lights Could Play Huge Role In Ending Malaria – The Huffington Post: A recent study from researches at the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles, found that mosquitoes were significantly less attracted to customized LED lighting than light transmitted by compact fluorescents. By reducing insect attraction to artificial light, LED’s can help reduce the amount of mosquito’s present in homes, thus lowering the chances for the spread of malaria.
- Apple Watch Scratch Resistance: Ion-X vs. Sapphire Glass – Slash Gear: Consumer Reports recently tested the durability and scratch resistance of the Apple Watch Sport and the higher-end Apple Watch. Based on the scratch tests conducted, the higher-end Apple Watch – which is outfitted with a sapphire glass faceplate – was able to withstand more of a beating than the Ion-X glass equipped Apple Watch Sport.
- Displays You Wear – Photonics Spectra: The augmented reality and wearable device industries are facing many challenges, specifically in the form of consumer devices. With the development of a wearable device, such as a watch, comes the need for a stronger screen that isn’t bulky or strange looking. Solutions to these issues are becoming easier due to innovations in protective covers, such as man made sapphire. Sapphire is more expensive than glass, but its greater scratch resistance, strength and durability allow products to be thinner, which can be a plus in wearables.
Location, location, location. Location-based applications have matured a great deal since early navigation devices like Garmin and Magellan GPSs. Location-based applications are very popular in smart phones. Using the location-based applications, you can tell your friends where you are and can find the nearest coffee shop. These applications typically use a GPS chip inside the phone or even location technology called U-TDOA (uplink time difference of arrival). These are the same location technologies used for e-911.
The next generation of location based applications are moving indoors. These new apps can bring all kinds of new uses to the typical smart phone. Because these applications are used inside, they can’t rely on GPS or U-TDOA because these technologies need line-of-sight where walls and other obstructions can limit their effectiveness. These next generation indoor location apps rely on new location technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC), a new version of Bluetooth called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology, RFID and even LEDs.
ABI Research predicts that the indoor location market will reach $4 billion US in 2018. Big companies are exploring the indoor location market. Apple and eBay have announced that they’re going to use BLE iBeacon. Apple is actively looking to establish an iBeacon program that can leverage its installed base of iPhones and iTouch devices to provide mobile transactions and offers to retailers and their customers. Retailers such as Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters are testing iBeacon. Major League Baseball announced a new agreement to use iBeacon for the upcoming baseball season using Qualcomm hardware.
How do LEDs fit in? Several companies are looking to leverage light. Philips is looking at one-way communication between networked LED-based luminaires and customers’ smartphones and a new system from ByteLight that uses a LED light fixture to communicate a unique identifier to individuals with smart phones using tiny pulses of light.
Philips recently shared a demo that uses a supermarket scenario using indoor location technology to guide a customer around a store to gather items for a recipe, and allows the store to send special coupons or offers to customers based on their location in the store. The technology would operate based on the instantaneous response of LEDs in on-off cycles that could transmit data to the camera of a smartphone using light changes undetectable to humans in the store. The customer would need to download an app on their smart phone. Like the ByteLight application, the communication link from the LED luminaires to the smartphone would deliver location data and other offers.
Here’s a diagram from Philips that illustrates how their LED location application would work in a grocery store.
For Further Reading
LEDsMagazine, Philips Lighting demonstrates LED-based indoor location detection, technology, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2014/02/philips-lighting-demonstrates-led-based-indoor-location-detection-technology.html
RFID Journal, Retailers Test ByteLight’s Light-Based Indoor Positioning Technology, http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?11474
FierceMobileIT, Indoor location market to reach $4 billion in 2018, predicts ABI, http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/indoor-location-market-reach-4-billion-2018-predicts-abi/2013-10-18#ixzz2v7TLbqKe
Incandescent lighting ruled the world for more than a century, but times have changed as the world looks to energy efficient alternatives to the incandescent bulb. In the 1970s, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) came along as the new alternative light source. Market penetration for CFL bulbs never rose above 1% of all units in the first 20 years following market introduction.
In the US, the US Department of Energy joined together with retailers and the lighting manufacturers to encourage consumer adoption of energy-efficient lighting including LEDs and CFLs. There has been careful consideration not to repeat the mistakes experienced with CFLs that led to that very slow adoption rate.
We’ve spoken a lot about the EISA phase-out of incandescent bulbs in Clearlysapphire.com. US legislators imposed strict energy efficient guidelines impacting incandescent light bulbs in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In a rolling phase-out through 2014, manufacturers stopped making 100-W, 75-W, 60-W and 40-W incandescent light bulbs. But that legislation is only part of today’s story.
Before the phase-out legislation, The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the Next Generation Lighting Initiative, directing the DOE to “support research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities related to advanced solid‐state lighting technologies based on white light-emitting diodes.” This legislation was an important part in establishing the DOE’s leadership in the adoption of solid state lighting (SSL).
The US Department of Energy reviewed the CFL experience and developed a strategy for leading the industry and supporting their activities for SSL. The DOE analyzed both CFL adoption and early SSL experiences since they’ve launched to determine a strategy for the initiative. You can find links to the reports below in Further Reading.
Some of the lessons learned were quite reasonable. First, coordination and collaboration between government and industry should take place at a national level. Secondly, they needed to establish standards and product testing for minimum performance and back-up of long-life claims with standard-based projections and/or guarantees. Thirdly, they needed to introduce new lighting technology in applications where the benefits were clearly established before moving on to others. They also found they needed to respond to the market and resolve problems and issues quickly. Finally, they needed to know and acknowledge technology limitations, determine and address compatibility issues with conventional lighting, deal with technology failures aggressively, and not launch a new product until performance issues were ironed out.
The parties in the initiative analyzed LED technology itself and possible bumps in the road to mitigate for consumers. They knew that consumers would have to get used to new language of LEDs. For example, the different way of communicating light brightness in lumens rather than traditional watts might cause confusion. The DOE worked with manufacturers proactively to communicate the new language of LEDs through the introduction of new package labeling, LED Lighting Facts program. They also established CALiPER program, to test a wide array of new LED lighting products for the public interest using industry-approved metrics. With a myriad of new LED light bulb offerings, consumers can find LED light bulbs that are qualified using 20 standards and procedures by the familiar Energy Star program. These proactive efforts were designed to smooth the transition and advance consumer adoption.
How successful have these government and industry efforts been?
There has been a very big change in the installed base of light bulbs between 2010 and 2012. This is mainly due to the government mandated light bulb phase-out. According to Navigant Research and the DOE, the installed base of incandescent A-type lamps (traditional light bulb shape) decreased from 65 percent to 55 percent, while CFLs increased from 34 percent in 2010 to 43 percent in 2012. LED installations in A-type lamps remained at less than 1 percent in 2012.
But taking note of lessons learned, it was interesting to see increased adoption in applications where LEDs have clear benefits — directional lighting such as lighting used in recessed lighting. According to the DOE and Navigant, installations of directional LED lamps went from 0.1 million in 2009 to 11.4 million in 2012, with an estimated 4.6% of all directional sockets in 2012 using LEDs.
Adoption is looking up for other lighting applications. Analysts expect LED-based lighting to grow, and fast. According to research firm IHS, 2014 will be a big year for LED lamps, accounting for 32% of the entire global lamp revenue.
The biggest barrier to consumer adoption in traditional A-type lighting so far is price, but the prices are coming down to more palatable levels for consumers. You can read more about the adoption of LED-based general lighting and pricing in these previous posts, Tipping Point 2: Finally, A Sub $10 LED Light Bulb and Tipping Point: Earth Day, 100W Light Bulb Reprieve and Alexander Hamilton.
For Further Reading
DOE, Solid-State Lighting: Early Lessons Learned on the Way to Market, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/ssl_lessons-learned_2014.pdf
DOE, Compact Fluorescent Lighting in America: Lessons Learned on the Way to Market, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/cfl_lessons_learned_web.pdf
Navigant Research for DOE, Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/led-adoption-report_2013.pdf
Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Report: Lighting manufacturing leaders to shift, http://www.csemag.com/single-article/report-lighting-manufacturing-leaders-to-shift/7932342ed0c1f2c636596e85aa29d99f.html
While LED chip manufacturers have been using patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) for years, there’s growing interest in large diameter PSS. Recently, Rubicon Technology announced the commercial availability of large diameter PSS. During their latest earnings call, they indicated that they’ve received interest from 7 major LED chip manufacturers for 4- and 6-inch large diameter PSS. Why the interest from LED chip manufacturers?
First, PSS helps improve epitaxial growth by promoting growth of the GaN in parallel to the substrate surface. This also 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.
Second, the evolution of patterning large diameter substrates brings economical advantages to LED chip manufacturers, especially those anticipating demand from the LED lighting market. Large diameter sapphire wafers help LED chip manufacturers cut costs by enabling more throughput for each run of the MOCVD reactor. This helps chip manufacturers make better use of the reactor “real estate” and decreases the cost per unit of area processed because of the curvature of the larger wafer. The outer curvature of a 6-inch wafer is less, enabling greater use of the surface area than the tighter curvature of a 2-inch wafer resulting in less edge loss. Larger diameter wafers also provide post-MOCVD efficiencies. 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 compared with two-inch wafers. These efficiency gains become very compelling when manufacturers want to ramp up LED chip production to support greater volumes of LEDs for light bulbs.
Finally, 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 for the reasons we mention above. While some LED chip manufacturers will have specialized patterning needs and the resources to keep the work in-house, others will not. Some LED chip manufacturers may not have the expertise and equipment to move to large diameter PSS, so having a ready, trusted supplier will prove handy.
For Further Reading
ClearlySapphire, LED Lighting Spotlight: Patterned Sapphire Substrates http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=390
Semiconductor Today, Patterned sapphire for nitride enhancements, http://www.semiconductor-today.com/features/SemiconductorToday_SeptOct_PatternedSapphire.pdf
Compound Semiconductor, New Wet Process For LEDs On Patterned Sapphire Boosts Efficiency, http://www.compoundsemiconductor.net/csc/news-details.php?cat=news&id=19734296
Compound Semiconductor, Rubicon Orders Multiple Profilers For Sapphire Production, http://www.compoundsemiconductor.net/csc/news-details.php?cat=news&id=19735318
Clearlysapphire.com, Larger Wafers, Larger Yield – The Numbers Behind Large Diameter Sapphire Wafers and Yield, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=435
This week, Rubicon Technology announced the launch of the first commercial line of large diameter patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) in four-inch through eight-inch diameters. The new product line provides LED chip manufacturers with a ready-made source of large diameter PSS to serve the needs of the rapidly growing LED general lighting industry.
This is doubly important since patterning helps improve both epitaxial growth and light extraction for each chip and enhances a chipmaker’s throughput and efficiency. Rubicon announced that they have fully customizable sub-micron patterning capability with tight dimensional tolerances, within ±0.1 µm. Rubicon offers LED chip manufacturers more usable area to maximize the number of chips per wafer due to an edge exclusion zone as small as 1 mm. Rubicon’s patterning is available in a range of shapes including cone, dome and pyramid, and in a range of orientations. Further customization of geometry, pattern and orientation is available too. You can find a brochure about it on Rubicon’s web site here.
Rubicon’s president and CEO Raja Parvez pointed out the importance of large diameter patterned sapphire substrates in a news release. “As LED-based general lighting gains worldwide adoption, large-diameter patterned sapphire substrates will become necessary to meet the demands of the rapidly growing lighting market.”
Parvez added that the company developed an unmatched technology platform that is vertically integrated from raw material through crystal growth, large diameter polished wafers, and now custom PSS in 4”, 6” and 8” diameters. According to Parvez, vertical integration enables Rubicon to produce progressively larger sapphire products while providing customers with exceptional quality, cost control, reliability, and consistency.
For Further Reading
Rubicon Technology, Rubicon Technology Launches First Commercial Line of Large Diameter Patterned Sapphire Substrates for the LED Industry, http://bit.ly/1itVMHq
Clearlysapphire.com, LED Lighting Spotlight: Patterned Sapphire Substrates, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=390
Clearlysapphire.com continues to follow the growth of LED lighting as well as sapphire and alternative substrates. This week, we’ll focus on a new report from Yole Developpement, a research firm that covers LEDs and the semiconductor industry. Yole recently reported that the packaged LED market will grow from $13.9 billion in 2013 to $16 billion by 2018, driven mainly by general lighting and completed by display applications. The report, Status of the LED Industry, details how LED-based general lighting has surpassed all other applications, representing nearly 39 percent of total revenue of packaged LEDs In 2012.
Costs need to continue to drop to keep LED-based lighting’s momentum in the general lighting market according to the report’s author, Pars Mukish, market and technology analyst, LED for Yole Developpement. He commented, “Cost represents the main barrier LEDs must overcome to fully compete with incumbent technologies. Since 2010, the price of packaged LEDs have sharply decreased, which has had the consequence of decreasing the price of LED-based lighting products.”
Mukish notes that in order to maintain growth, the industry needs to continue reducing pricing. He pointed out that while LED still has some potential for cost reduction, widespread adoption will require manufacturers to reduce costs on all components of the system such as drivers, heat sink, and PCB.
Yole also updates their reporting on the use of alternative substrates in the LED market. This situation hasn’t changed since we last covered alternatives in these posts: Clearlysapphire.com, Alternative Substrates – Dimming the Hype, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=496 and Clearlysapphire.com, Alternative Substrates for LEDs, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=293.
According to Yole, companies working on alternatives such as silicon and GaN still face major obstacles. Mukish says the benefit of GaN-on-silicon LEDs depends on decreasing manufacturing cost by using cheaper 8 inch silicon substrates that can leverage fully depreciated and highly automated CMOS fabs. However, he maintains that GaN-on-silicon LEDs still suffer from low manufacturing yields and full compatibility with CMOS fab still needs to be achieved. He added that GaN-on-GaN LEDs benefit from a lower defect density in the epitaxial layers, allowing the device to be driven at higher current levels and to use a lower number of LED devices per system. However, he said that GaN-on-GaN LEDs suffer from low GaN substrate availability and high costs.
For Further Reading
iMicronews, Sample, State of LED Industry, SLI report, http://www.i-micronews.com/upload/Rapports/SLI%20Sample.pdf
Compound Semiconductor, Yole: Inexpensive LED Solutions Pushing Adoption In General Lighting, http://www.compoundsemiconductor.net/csc/detail-news/id/19736834/name/Yole:-Inexpensive-LED-solutions-pushing-adoption-in-general-lighting.html
Novus Light Today, Yole Releases Status of LED Industry Report, http://www.novuslight.com/yole-releases-status-of-led-industry-report_N1675.html
Today, Apple announced two new models of the iPhone, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. One of the biggest news items at the Apple event is that the new iPhone 5S will sport a whole new home button with a fingerprint sensor with a sapphire lens, ringed in stainless steel.
Sapphire, the second hardest material on Earth after the diamond, is scratch resistant, so it should be very well suited for use as a lens. While this is great news for the sapphire community, this is not the only use for sapphire in a smart phone. Many smart phone OEMs already use sapphire for the camera lens cover because of its scratch resistance, but also is used for the LEDs in the backlighting for the screens as well as the silicon-on-sapphire (SOS)-based RFIC chips that power the RF antennas. There are more places for use of sapphire in a smart phone as well since OEMS are looking to use SOS chips for digitally tunable capacitors (DTCs) and power amplifiers. And, don’t forget sapphire’s largest overall market, LEDs, for lighting, displays and more.
Apple claims that Touch ID reads a fingerprint at an entirely new level by scanning sub-epidermal skin layers with 360 degree reading capabilities. The sensor is part of the home button which is 170 microns thick with a 500 ppi resolution. Touch ID stores the encrypted fingerprint info securely in a “secure enclave” inside the new A7 chip, the new processor for the iPhone 5S. The neat thing is that it should be able to store multiple fingers. The Touch ID will enable you to purchase items on iTunes, the AppStore or iBooks without a password.
You can see where the sapphire is in this photo of the home button from CNet’s live blog of the Apple event:
The iPhone 5S (and the 5C) go on pre-sale on September 13th and will be on sale in stores on September 20th.
For Further Reading
Engadget, iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor called Touch ID, recognizes your thumb on the Home button: here’s how it works and what it does, http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/10/iphone-5s-fingerprint-sensor/
Today, more than 80% of LEDs are made based on sapphire wafers. Recently, Lux Research published a report, Dimming the Hype: GaN-on-Si Fails to Outshine Sapphire by 2020, about the state of alternative substrates. In LED production, sapphire is used as the substrate onto which the chemicals that will become the emitting layer of the LED are deposited as a vapor. With the LED lighting market expected to grow to $80 billion, Lux Research expects the substrate market to grow to $4 billion in 2020 making it a highly attractive market. Lux expects sapphire to continue to dominate the substrate market.
“Silicon is already widely used for electronics, and some LED die manufacturers are hoping to take advantage of silicon substrates,” said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the Lux report. She explained that GaN-on-Si presents technical challenges such as cracking and a lattice mismatch that reduces the performance of LEDs based on the alternative substrate.
In an interview with Compound Semiconductor, Madakasira spoke about LEDs based on silicon substrates. She doesn’t buy the argument that GaN-on-silicon makers can save on costs. She says that even if they use fully depreciated CMOS equipment, the process of depositing complex buffer layers onto silicon prior to GaN deposition to overcome GaN and silicon lattice mismatches, adds time and cost to a manufacturing line.
Madakasira also shared performance data in her report with Compound Semiconductor. She notes that alternative substrates haven’t provided the performance of sapphire. According to Lux, the luminance efficacy of GaN-on-SiC LEDs is 200 Lumens per Watt with GaN-on-sapphire devices coming in at between 150 to 180 Lumens per Watt.
What does this mean? The Lux report concluded that sapphire will remain highly competitive for the rest of the decade. GaN-on-silicon, will snare only 10% market share while GaN-on-silicon carbide will grow to 18% of the market. Where do they fit? Here are Lux’s conclusions:
- Choice and cost of LEDs will determine adoption. Where GaN-on-sapphire is suited to all applications, GaN-on-bulk GaN will be relegated to niche commercial lighting and GaN-on-Si, with unproven performance, will be better suited to cost-sensitive residential applications.
- Four-inch wafers will rule (for now), though six-inch wafers start to come into vogue. Four-inch wafers will peak at 62% market share with $2.1 billion in 2017 sales. Later, the LED industry will move towards 6” epiwafers, which will take a 35% share, equivalent to $1.4 billion, in 2020.
- Technology will advance sapphire substrates. Sapphire substrate manufacturing technology has advanced significantly with specialists such as Rubicon and Monocrystal demonstrating substrates up to 12” in diameter. New methods like hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) will further improve throughput and cut costs, keeping sapphire highly competitive for the rest of the decade.
For Further Reading
Lux Research, Epi-Wafer Market to Grow to $4 Billion in 2020 as LED Lighting Zooms to $80 Billion, http://www.luxresearchinc.com/news-and-events/press-releases/182.html
Compound Semiconductor, Sapphire Substrates to Lead Future LED Markets, http://www.compoundsemiconductor.net/csc/indepth-details/19736669/Sapphire-substrates-to-lead-future-LED-market.html