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Friday, June 23, 2006

New optical system for increased LED efficiency

Edmund Optics, Inc. has launched an illumination delivery technology, EOS, a next generation approach to increasing illumination brightness in LEDs. EOS delivery technology essentially reinvents LEDs, ultimately making them more useful to a wider variety of markets.

“This discovery has created a tremendous gain in power and lifetime for LEDs. As the EOS technology flows to market, scientists and engineers will be able to utilized this revolutionary technology to replace the majority of quartz halogen bulbs over the next several years,” said John Stack, president and COO. “We are certain that this innovative optical solution will be applicable to future developments at the source/die level.”

The new EOS technology will create new opportunities for the use of LEDs in automotive headlamps, scientific instrument lighting, infrared military illuminators, surgical headlamps and portable projector systems.

“EOS technology is used to direct energy from the LED chip with unprecedented efficiency and unsurpassed uniformity at the target. The 150 watt quartz halogen bulbs typically last 1,000 hours. Initial testing results indicate that with the new optical design, the EOS transformed LED will be at least two to five times brighter than quartz halogen, lasting 20 to 50 times longer,” said Chris Cummings, R&D engineer at Edmund Optics.

LED technologies have continued to address the brightness issue by optimizing materials and the manufacturing process. These approaches still fall short of the rigorous brightness requirements, and therefore end users persist in driving the chip harder, increasing power to achieve a better result. Unfortunately, this method decreases the lifetime of the LED, one of its primary advantages over quartz halogen.

Recognizing this problematic balance between driving the chip and LED lifetime, Edmund Optics sought an unconventional approach to the brightness problem. “Our approach was to go back to the fundamental limits of physics; then use building blocks to come up with a radically new, yet simple and elegant optical solution,” said Samuel Sadoulet, director of engineering.

Edmund Optics developed a patent-pending, optical technology that when used in conjunction with an LED, more effectively directs the light into a tightly focused and manageable bundle of light, minimizing any thermal concerns that impact the life of the chip. The financial drawback of using an LED has been eliminated.

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