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Report Issued on Emerging Lighting Systems

Photonics Spectra
Feb 2006
Anne L. Fischer

The lighting industry is flourishing, according to a recently released report from Frost & Sullivan of London. The report focuses on the emergence of solid-state lighting and looks specifically at technologies, challenges, key developers, and user needs and concerns.

Report Issued on Emerging Lighting Systems
Analysts from Frost & Sullivan report on the advances of LEDs in the lighting industry as well as the problems it still must solve.

Technologies noted in the report include the inorganic multicolor LEDs developed at Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico and the development of the cantilever epitaxy process at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.

A challenge is the cost of solid-state lighting, which the report notes is much too high in comparison with existing light sources. Life ownership — defined as the cost to purchase and operate the lighting — is twice that of incandescent light sources and 10 times that of fluorescent ones.

New materials and production techniques are important factors in reducing costs, the report contends. Zinc oxide is being considered by researchers at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, while scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and Albemarle Corp. of Richmond, Va., are working with aluminum-based organic LEDs (OLEDs).

More improvement is needed on the level of light output and quality of color, according to the study. Another obstacle to acceptance is that new solid-state bulbs can’t be put into old sockets. Lumi-naries specific to the new light sources must be developed, opening up a whole new industry.

These issues are being addressed as government and corporate investment drives the use and development of solid-state lighting, which will result in a decline in the use of conventional light sources in the next four to five years, the study concludes. We will see LEDs applied in entertainment, handheld devices, automotive interiors and exteriors, and landscape and architectural design. An emerging trend in the LED industry is to offer customer-specified colors by using a converter material in the plastic molding.

In preparing the lighting study, Frost & Sullivan researchers reviewed a variety of patents issued in the field of LEDs and OLEDs. They reported that large companies such as Philips, Osram and General Electric are involved in advancing the solid-state lighting industry. While innovation and development continue, the report indicates that among the many problems that remain, increasing end-user awareness is considered the greatest challenge to the overall industry.

Included in the report is a list of patents and a database of key developers in the field. To receive the “Emerging Lighting System” overview or for more information, please e-mail or visit

BusinessConsumerFrost &light sourceslight speedsolid-state lightingSullivanLEDs

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