Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

LEDs rapidly advancing to meet lighting needs

The LED is poised to create a major impact in the lighting world—particularly with the advancement of white-light LED technology—says Dr. Nadarajah Narendran, director of research at the Lighting Research Center. The current show of progress in the solid-state lighting field is promising, leading to predictions that LEDs will soon push forward into new territories beyond their current status as indicator lamps.

This news was presented at the International LED Expo 2003, the first global tradeshow and conference dedicated to LED technology. Dr. Narendran along with Dan Frering, manager of education, and Russ Leslie, associate director, traveled to Seoul, Korea, in June for the conference, where Dr. Narendran gave the keynote address.

The accompanying photo includes (l. to r.) Russ Leslie, Dan Frering, and N. Narendran.

During his presentation, Dr. Narendran discussed the state of LED technology—where it is currently and will be going in the future. He noted that industry trends show LEDs moving quickly from the most common indicator applications to illuminating applications as a result of new device geometries and materials, larger semiconducting devices, higher density packaging, increased drive currents, and better heat extraction. The lumen output of commercial white-LED products is now 100 times greater than it was just two years ago. One manufacturer at the conference presented a white LED with a luminous efficacy of 40 lumens per watt, a remarkable improvement over the presently available devices of 24 lumens per watt.

“With the current rapid pace of development, LEDs will have a substantial market penetration for general illumination in another 10 years,” said Dr. Narendran.

Goals that still need to be achieved in order for LEDs to gain widespread use for general illumination include increased light output, greater efficacy, and reduced cost. Additionally, the interaction between system components and LEDs needs to be explored further in order to design LED systems that can outperform those using other light sources.

Russ Leslie and Dan Frering also addressed seminar attendees during the conference, which was designed to raise awareness about LED technologies and to offer a forum for information exchange. Topics discussed at the conference ranged from developmental research to applications. Leslie presented an overview of architectural lighting applications for LEDs, including information on retail lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and other specialty applications. Frering presented a session on transportation and outdoor lighting applications using LEDs, including details on lighting for motor vehicles, pedestrian walkways, roadways, traffic signals, signage, and landscaping.

According to Frering, almost 150 people attended the seminars presented by the LRC team. “They had plenty of questions at the end of each session,” Frering said about those who attended the conference. “It seemed that they were very interested in LED technology because of its cost-related manufacturing benefits.” Those representing Korean manufacturing businesses were especially interested in how they could utilize the rapidly developing technology to create lighting systems for a variety of applications.

Nearly 7,000 people from the United States, Korea, Russia, China, Malaysia, and other countries attended the four-day expo, many who represent companies that manufacture LEDs or products that use LEDs. Russ Leslie noted that the attendees represented the continuum of solid-state lighting. He added that the conference was well received and said, “For a first conference, the turnout was quite remarkable.”

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment

© 2003 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

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