Tag: led

LED market in 2015 was not too bright

flexible LEDAn oversupply of light emitting diodes (LEDs) has led to average selling prices of lighting products to slump 30 to 40 percent this year.

That’s according to a report from Trendforce, with analyst Roger Chu saying: “Growing numbers of manufacturers have incurred heavy losses and are exiting the market.”

There is still strong demand for high brightness LEDs, but Chu said the value of the market is up by only two percent this year, amounting to $14.52 billion.

He estimates that it will be worth $14.95 billion in 2016, a rise of only three percent, year on year.

LED based lights are under “immense downward price pressure”.

However, Chu expects the big price declines to moderate next year. This year, the cost of sales to make an LED light bulb, for example, is the same as its cost.

He said that Chinese LED manufacturers are likely to make serious acquisitions, picking up international LED patents and lighting brands.

As prices continue to fall, Chu said buying an LED is close to the cost of “traditional” energy saving bulbs.

OLED already outclassed by lasers

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-wallpaper-2LG might be a little miffed. After betting the farm on OLED it seems a boffin has come up with a much better technology.

Popular Science dubbed it one of the top breakthroughs of 2015, the world’s first white laser. Professor Cun-Zheng Ning has been working on the invention for nearly a decade.

Thing is that LEDs are limited on the number of colours they can generate. However lasers can represent any colours in a more accurate way.

What he had to do was grow a semiconductor on a nano scale. Ning’s semiconductor produces a red, blue, and green laser, that merge into a white laser.

He also demonstrated that a single piece of material can actually have laser actions simultaneously so that the overall light coming out is white.

Three lasers produce the white laser beam and producing more than 70 percent more colors. Each razor-thin laser would be just one pixel on a screen.

“That was really exciting when you put a laser TV side-by-side, with the best LCD or LED TV, and there’s no comparison, the kind of colour you see is immediately so vivid,” said Ning.

White laser could also be used to transmit data, it would improve communications speeds making them faster and more secure.

Truce called in battle of LED light bulbs

flexible LEDFierce price cutting of LED light bulbs has come to an end, at least for the time being.

According to market research company Trendforce, the average price of 40W replacement light bulbs rose by 2.8 percent in October to $11.1. The price of 60W bulbs rose 3.5 percent to $15, Trendforce said.

The reason for the lull in the price wars is because in many countries LED light bulb makers were offering specific price cutting promotions.

The price war has continued worldwide for the last three calendar quarters and considerable consolidation is expected in the industry.

In some regions the price of 40W replacement bulbs rose sharply – that;s true in the UK market which saw an increase of 9.9 percent in October. The German market, too, saw price rises that amounted to 9.4 percent.

Sharp trying to sell off LED unit

sharp2Troubled Japanese telly maker Sharp has announced that it is chatting to several companies about selling off its LCD business.

Apparently the banks are under pressure for Sharp to find a partner for the loss-making division.

Sharp was given a $1.7 billion rescue in May but Sharp is struggling to make the investments it needs to keep its screen business competitive.

Its main lenders want the company to find a buyer for all or part of its ailing LCD business.

Chief Executive Kozo Takahashi told the press that he could not name names, but was in negotiations with multiple companies. He could not say when any deal would be finalised.

Takahashi stressed that a direct investment into Sharp itself was not being discussed.

Hon Hai Precision Industry has been suggested as a potential buyer and a state-backed fund is also considering a direct investment in Sharp or merging the company’s LCD unit with rival Japan Display.

Sharp’s July-September operating profit fell 86 percent to $29 million from a year earlier, dragged down by falling prices of smartphone displays and slow progress in reducing inventory.

Scientists create nano based white lasers

White laserResearchers at the Arizona State University (ASU) said they’ve made a breakthrough and have created a laser that beams white light.

To produce a white laser beam, the full visible colour spectrum is required, and the ASU boffins have proven that semiconductor lasers are capable of doing just that.

The scientists made a nanosheet with three parallel segments with each supporting laser in one of three colours but can tune colours from the RGB display.

The research means that lasers are now potentially a mainstream light source and will replace light emitting diodes (LEDs) by providing brighter and more energy efficient devices.

The ASU scientists believe that the white lasers could provide a combination illimination and communication system – called Li-Fi. This is likely to be over 10 times faster than current wi-fi systems and Li-Fi based on lasers may be between 10 to 100 times faster than LED based Li-Fi.

Doctoral student Fan Gan said: “Our goal is to achieve a single semiconductor piece capable of laser operation in the three fundamental lasing colours. The piece should be small enough so that people can perceive only one overall mixed colour instead of three different colours.”

One obstacle is that the semiconductor based white layer needs to be driven by a battery, and that’s not yet achievable.

Boffins speed up Wi-Fi by 10 times

technic, funk, man at short-wave receiver, 1961, 1960s, 60s, 20th century, historic, historical, radio operator, radio operatorsResearchers at Oregon State University emerged from their smoke filled labs with a technology that can increase the bandwidth of Wi-Fi systems by 10 times.

The technology, which uses LED lights, can be integrated with existing Wi-Fi systems to reduce bandwidth problems in crowded locations, such as airport terminals or coffee shops.

LED technology developments have made it possible to modulate the LED light rapidly, meaning that a “free space” optical communication system is possible.

The system uses inexpensive components.

The prototype, called Wi-FO, uses LEDs that are beyond the visual spectrum for humans and creates an invisible cone of light about one metre square in which the data can be received. To address the problem of a small area of usability, the researchers created a hybrid system that can switch between several LED transmitters installed on a ceiling, and the existing Wi-Fi system.

Thinh Nguyen, an OSU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering said the Wi-FO system could be easily transformed into a marketable product, and he was looking for a company that is interested in further developing and licensing the technology.

The system can potentially send data at up to 100 megabits per second. Although some current Wi-Fi systems have similar bandwidth, it has to be divided by the number of devices, so each user might be receiving just five to 10 megabits per second, whereas the hybrid system could deliver 50-100 megabits to each user.

In a home where telephones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, and televisions may all be connected to the internet, increased bandwidth would eliminate problems like video streaming that stalls and buffers.

The receivers are small photodiodes that cost less than a dollar each and could be connected through a USB port for current systems, or incorporated into the next generation of laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

A patent has been secured on the technology, and a paper was published in the 17th ACM International Conference on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Wireless and Mobile Systems.

Disney creates fabric 3D printer

Disney stamp - Wikimedia CommonsCarnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have teamed up to make a 3D printer that can use fabric and that can also include electronic circuits to interact with people.

So far, the team has limited itself to layer together laser cut sheets of fabric to make soft objects like doll clothing and phone cases.

Soft fabric things like plush toys are still made by hand and the team believes layered fabric printing will automate production of these things.

The machine includes two fabrication surfaces – one a cutting platform and the other a bonding platform. Fabric feeds from a roll into the printer and a vacuum holds the fabric, with the laser cutting a piece out and the made to the desired shape. Once the process is finished, the support fabric is torn way to show the 3D object.

If you want to make a two and a half inch bunny using the Disney technique, making one will take two and a half hours, using 32 layers of two millimetre thick felt.

Wiring can be produced to create, for example, touch sensors and an antenna that will light an LED.

You can find more information, including a picture of the bunny and a video, by going here.

Researchers turn LED displays into 'Li-Fi' wireless

Scientists from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have emerged from their smoke filled labs having come up with a Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) technology that could turn ordinary LED computer displays into a sophisticated wireless communications network like wi-fi.

The process is based on German development. German researchers came up with an 800Mbps capable wireless network by using red, blue, green and white LED light bulbs in 2011.

But the University of Strathclyde’s idea uses micron sized LEDs and will mean that an LED array beside a motorway could light the road, displaying the latest traffic updates and transmitting internet information wirelessly to passengers’ laptops, netbooks and smartphones.

Micron-sized LEDs are able to flicker on and off around 1,000 times quicker than the larger LEDs and this means faster data transfers and they also take up less space.

Each micron-sized LED can also act as a tiny pixel which can be used to light a living room. It could also be used as a screen displaying information, at exactly the same time.

It does have some limits. Since light cannot penetrate through most walls it means that the signal is easily blocked by somebody simply walking in front of the LED source. In Scotland that could mean fog and rain shutting down the network.

OLEDs get cheaper and brighter with a 'spin'

Scientists have put a new spin on organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology which could offer brighter, cheaper, and more environmentally sound screens.

The ‘spintronic’ OLEDs differ to the ones that are used in panels such as smartphone screens. Big telly vendors have also been bleating about launching large OLED screens for some time now, though these are expected to command dizzying price tags upon their eventual release.

University of Utah physicists reckon that they have cracked a cheaper way to produce the OLED, using the ‘spin’ of electrons to record information.

This technique is being looked at for the future of computer chips too, and developments with both have been made possible through the invention of a ‘spin valve’.

This was then modified over a number of years to create a valve that, rather than controlling electron flow, was able to produce light, opening the door to developing OLEDs.

The team made advances with the previous method by changing the material used in the organic layer of the spin valve, making the light more efficient.

They also added a material to allow negatively charged electrons to be injected into the valve at the same time as a positively charged one.  This meant that more light could be generated by the device.

Creating fully working TVs based on the spintronics method may be some time off, according to the scientists.

At the moment it is only possible to use the device at a rather chilly minus 28 degrees, and they can only create one colour so far – orange.  Fine for the Dutch football team and the 90’s ‘Tango Man’ but otherwise unappealing.

The scientists say that they are working one producing red and blue over the next couple of years, with white spin OLEDs in the future too.

As for spin OLED sets hitting the shops, the team reckons it could be another five years before the necessary developments are made.

LED makers killed off by competition

Cut-throat competition in China is killing off the makers of  LED chips.

Already a half of them have gone to the wall and those which remain are the large, state-backed companies.

Talking to Reuters, Nomura analyst Anne Lee said that sluggish global sales of TVs and computers may further cut LED chip prices by 20 percent this year, and consolidation or closure are the only options for China’s smaller LED  manufactorys.Sanan Optoelectronics, which is China’s top LED chipmaker with a market value of $2.8 billion, and Elec-Tech International will be one of the few survivors because it receive subsidies and incentives from the government.

This is because it is China’s strategy to have its biggest companies to survive in this restructuring.

However, for the majority of LED firms, the government is slowly rolling back incentives, including tax breaks, free land and more than $1.6 billion in cash to buy LED chip-making equipment.

These have propped up the industry for more than three years.

Proview, which is more famous for its war with Apple over the iPad trademark in China, is grappling with slumping LED prices and fierce competition that have dragged down earnings for other LED companies. Others hit include Hangzhou Silan Microelectronics and Foshan Nationstar Optoelectronics.

Many LED companies are operating their factories at half capacity in China.

Overcapacity has shut hundreds of small Chinese makers of LED lighting, according to analysts.