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  • LED System Simulates Sunlight Indoors

Photonics.com
Apr 2014
COMO, Italy, April 28, 2014 — Reaping the benefits of sunlight without windows? It’s possible.

In a project funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 program, CoeLux Srl has developed CoeLux, a new product that simulates sunlight indoors.

The system consists of LEDs that reproduce the sunlight spectrum, an optical system designed to recreate “a sensation of distance between the sky and the sun”, and nanostructures that recreate the Rayleigh scattering process that occurs in the atmosphere.


CoeLux has the capacity to bring the benefits of natural sunlight indoors. Courtesy of the European Commission.


“Many areas of our lives, from energy, transportation, medicine, food safety, health and well-being, are being enhanced and even revolutionized by nanotechnology,” said Michael Jennings, a spokesman for the European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Maria Geoghehan-Quinn. “CoeLux is a great example of how science can turn a simple idea that is difficult to achieve — replicating sunlight — into a reality.”

CoeLux creates the same atmospheric effects that produce the color variety that exists within transmitted sunlight, as well as the blue that exists under diffused sky light, developers said.

The new system can reproduce sunlight in morning, midday and sunset modes, and can replicate the light of Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the tropics. It is compatible with low-energy-consumption fluorescent lamps and LEDs.

Scientists from the University of Insubria who developed the system said it was originally designed with a focus on the health care industry, but that it can be applied virtually anywhere, from apartments, industrial buildings and malls, to railway stations and enclosed stadiums.

The system could also benefit those working or living underground, or close to the Arctic or Antarctic where natural light is scarce several months out of the year, the scientists said.

“You can experience sunny skies anytime, anywhere,” said Paolo Di Trapani, a professor and physicist at the University of Insubria and coordinator of the CoeLux project.

CoeLux is the result of collaboration between CoeLux Srl, Next Limit Technologies and Ekspobalta, and research partners Griffin Software Srl, ETH Zurich, Bartenbach GmbH, Aldrans and Comonext Scpa.

For more information, visit: www.ec.europa.eu/research


GLOSSARY
rayleigh scattering
Scattering by particles very small compared with the wavelength of the radiation being considered. A feature of Rayleigh scattering is that the scattered flux is inversely proportional to the fourth power of the wavelength. Thus in the visible region, blue light is scattered more strongly by the molecules of the air than longer wavelengths, accounting for the blue color of the sky.
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