Given a continued sluggish technology economy, it's nice to find a market segment that's poised for significant growth. The LED-based lighting market is certainly such a market. Already, LEDs have moved beyond their indicator-light legacy and are finding success in automotive lighting, signage and backlighting applications ranging from mobile phones to TVs. And now high-brightness LEDs are poised to make a run in the general illumination market bringing improved energy efficiency and long life. The potential has engineers looking for design help.
This week alone, engineers have three major events focused on LEDs and Lighting. On Wednesday (Oct. 21), designers can attend the EE Times LEDs and Lighting Virtual Conference. Meanwhile, the LEDs2009 Conference will run Oct. 20 to 22 in San Diego. LightShow/West takes place Oct 21 to 22 in Los Angeles.
What's the motivation for engineers seeking more information on the LED market? The answer is both market potential, and the fact that LEDs are really quite different devices once you get past the basic indicator usage. Databeans estimates the entire LED market will grow to $5.3 billion this year. But general illumination is a very small part of the total. Strategies Unlimited projects that just the general illumination segment will hit $5 billion in 2012. And consider that the residential market will not have kicked in at that point.
Now let's consider the technical side. LEDs can bring great efficiency advantages in illumination as well as long life. But designing LED luminaires " lighting fixtures " is much different than working with incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Design engineers must learn a complete new set of pertinent optical specs and figures of merit. And driving high-brightness LEDs can require three power supply stages. Then consider the thermal issues: LEDs don't radiate heat the way traditional light bulbs do, so LEDs require much more complex mechanical designs.
The EE Times LEDs and Lighting Virtual Conference will provide a jump start for designing with LEDs. First, Carnegie Mellon researcher Ins Lima Azevedo will present a keynote entitled, "The Transition to Solid State Lighting." Azevedo will detail the tremendous amount of energy that we waste on inefficient lighting today, and then present a series of financial scenarios that project when a broad move to LEDs lighting might occur.
Following the keynote, the conference will offer four webinar panel discussions, as well as virtual booths, and chat sessions with peers. The panels include:
- Inside the LED: Specifications, Characteristics, and Optical Parameters
- LED Applications: Opportunities Drive Advancements in Design and
- Maximizing LED Performance and Efficiency
- The LED Driver: It's More Than Just a Power-Supply IC
The EE Times LEDs and Lighting Virtual Conference materials will be archived and available after the Oct. 21 event.
Maury Wright is conference co-chair for the EE Times LEDs and Lighting Virtual Conference