If you’re not used to thinking of lighting and system design in the same sentence, think again. While most of us have been paying close attention to the latest advances in microprocessors and debating the future of Moore’s Law, the same semiconductor firms that produce those chips have been quietly making money in the more mundane lighting market. A lot of it.
We’re not talking about those high-brightness (HB) little heaters called incandescent bulbs, which waste 95 percent of the power required to run them as heat. According to Vrinda Bhandarkar, LED market analyst at Strategies Unlimited, the HB LED market should exceed $8 billion in 2010 and grow at an overall CAGR of 29.5 percent to reach $19.6 billion in 2014. That’s far beyond the most optimistic predictions for the semiconductor market, which explains why semiconductor firms are getting strongly on board.
The growth of the LED lighting market is due in part to better technology. LED performance across the color spectrum has improved dramatically over the last several years; cool white LED luminous efficiency increased by a factor of 8.6 from 2000 through 2009. Packaging has improved, too, with LEDs now being available in lamps, SMDs, multichip and high-power packages.
The need for energy efficiency—first driven by battery-powered portable devices—is now a requirement in all lighting markets. The use of HB LEDs in displays, commercial and industrial lighting has risen dramatically in the last few years—in the case of displays 232 percent since 2000, according to Strategies Unlimited. Over 52 percent of PCs sold last year had LED backlights, up from just 12 percent the year before.
Integrating HB LEDs and backlights into low-power portable devices is a system-level challenge and one that manufacturers of power-management ICs (PMICs) and LED drivers are all addressing. Still, with markets as diverse as mobile appliances, signs and displays, automotive, signals and industrial lighting, there is a wide choice of rapidly changing technologies and an equally wide range of integration issues.
Lighting: The Desktop Trade Show
To help engineers catch up with the latest developments in lighting technologies and applications, Digi-Key and EE Times are presenting a virtual conference titled “Lighting and System Design” on Aug. 26. The event will include four panels of lighting experts speaking on:
Today's Lighting Technologies
Lighting the Future
An additional panel titled Solve My Lighting Problems: Ask the Experts will spend an hour tackling questions from the audience. The panels will include lighting experts from Digi-Key, Cree, OSRAM, TI, STMicro, Linear Tech, Oree, Qualcomm and Strategies Unlimited who will address the full range of lighting issues. If you have a knotty design issue, just sign up, log in and enjoy a bit of free consulting time. Or just lurk and learn.
In addition to the panels there will be three scheduled chats, the topics to be chosen by people who sign up for the conference (you get to vote when you register). Sponsors will have virtual booths, where even if you’re a garage shop you can get through to a helpful FAE to answer your questions.
Overall these events are both highly informative a lot of fun. Jump in with both feet or lurk and learn. Either way you’ll learn a lot about lighting technologies without having to deal with the usual trade show traffic and sore feet.
All said, there are still challenges abound in the LED market which are a deterrent to its smooth acceptance as a replacement for the existing HB products. More at: http://www.eetimes.com/message-board/other/4205850/AC-DC-LED-Lighting-Challenges
This was a great opportunity provided EE Times and DigiKey for the engineers (like me) who are working in the different domain and doesn't have much idea about what is going on in the field of the LED lighting technology. I missed the “Lighting and System Design” event yesterday. Could somebody, who has attended this event, share some learning & thoughts from this virtual conference?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.