NEW YORK – Rambus Inc., a company best known for its memory technology IPs and an army of in-house lawyers to protect them, this week came to Lightfair in Philadelphia to pitch the company’s patented lighting solutions, branded as Pentelic.
“Rambus in lighting” isn’t exactly a phrase well known in the electronics industry – at least, not yet. But given the rapid evolution of the lighting industry today, Rambus, already armed with a 10-year licensing deal with GE on advanced LED-based lighting products, is seeing a big opportunity.
System-level IPs for lighting
John Langevin, director strategic development responsible of lighting at Rambus, explained to EE Times: “Many of us are familiar with IPs associated with LEDs themselves, surrounding materials or high brightness features of LEDs -- often developed by LED technology companies like Cree.
“What we are doing in lighting is to take advantage of such LED technology advancements and bring system-level IPs, especially in optics space, for LED-based lighting.”
Rambus’ expansion in to the lighting IP business has been enabled by acquisitions of a couple of innovative lighting technology firms and their inventors.
In late 2009, Rambus got advanced lighting and optoelectronics technologies from Global Lighting Technologies (GLT; Chung-Li, Taiwan). Rambus also hired Jeff Parker, the inventor of GCT’s technologies, and his team, now working at Rambus’ lighting and display technology center in Brecksville, Ohio. Parker is now senior vice president in the lighting technology unit at Rambus.
Earlier this year, Rambus fattened its lighting portfolio further by acquiring patents and technology from privately held Imagine Designs Inc. (Campbell, Calif.) The patented innovations include technology for general lighting, LCD backlighting, and micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) displays, according to Rambus. Through the transaction, Imagine Designs’ founder and principal inventor Brian Richardson also joined Rambus as a technical director in the lighting and display technology business.
Under a new investment model practiced in its acquisitions, Rambus buys intellectual property from small companies, then works with the inventors to develop the technologies in an effort to leverage the competitive landscape.
Lumens per square foot watt
Newly designed lighting fixtures enabled by Rambus’ Pentelic portfolio are equipped with edge-lit, high-efficiency features. In a departure from the lighting industry’s conventional “obsession with lumens per watt,” Pentelic offers lighting designers a flexibility to control “ray angle” and “lumens per square foot watt,” explained Rambus’ Langevin. “With Pentelic solutions, we can efficiently direct and apply the maximum amount of light to precisely where it is desired.”
Included in the Pentelic lighting solutions’ technology portfolio are: LED-to-light guide coupling technology, delivering 93 percent to 96 percent of total LED output to the light guide (TrueEdge technology); technology enabling custom light distribution patterns (MicroLens optics); optics producing a highly collimated, highly efficient light output that delivers precise ray angle control (VirtuOptic); and compact reflectors capable of producing tightly controlled efficient and high-beams ideal for spotlights (SolidCore). The first two technologies original come from Jeff Parker’s GCT; the last two technologies are developed by Brian Richardson, when he was with Imagine Designs.
Rambus will be licensing these technologies to lighting designers and supply chains that manufacture Rambus-qualified LED products.
Langevin stressed that technologies used in the Pentelic lighting solutions are “not new; they are based on proven technologies.” He said, “You can apply them toward lighting today, in high volume.”