Nichia Corp. and Luminus Devices Inc. have teamed up to
create high-power white light LED (light-emitting diode) technology that could
enable a host of new applications, ranging from automotive headlamps to medical
devices to architectural lighting.
The new technology
combines Luminus' large-chip, high-power PhlatLight technology with
Nichia's expertise in white light LEDs.
for a fundamentally different paradigm here," says Alexei Erchak, chief technology
officer for Luminus Devices, Inc. "We believe there are a lot of lighting
applications out there that would benefit from a single large-chip source,
rather than a patchwork of little LEDs."
alliance of the two companies is based on cross-licensing of intellectual
property, technology sharing and a manufacturing partnership.
In the past,
Luminus has been known for red, green and blue large-chip, high-power LEDs,
while Nichia has been notable for its phosphor and epitaxial material
technologies. "Up until now, we've only been able to do red, green and blue,"
Erchak says. "But with Nichia's help, we are now going to be launching our
first white LEDs."
combination of the technologies could create a niche for white, high-power LED
applications. The new products will be able to fill that niche because they
employ Luminus' PhlatLight technology, which uses chips measuring 12 mm on a
side and capable of operating at currents as high as 30 A. In contrast, many of
today's conventional LEDs measure about approximately 1 mm2 and
operate at about 350 mA.
"In a lot
of today's applications, there isn't sufficient brightness coming from an array
of low-power LEDs," Erchak says. "But there are a lot of applications that
could benefit from a single-large-chip source."
says it is working with a medical equipment manufacturer that will use the
high-power, white-light devices in a fiber-coupled endoscopy application. The company
has also drawn interest from technicians in the entertainment industry, who want
to use the new LEDs to cast thousands of lumens of white light on a stage.
Automakers could also employ the technology in headlamps and municipalities
could use it for streetlights, Erchak says.
Luminus is expected to introduce two technologies based on the cross-licensing
agreement: the CST-90, a chip-on-board package measuring approximately 9 mm on
a side and the SST-90, a surface-mount LED package.
engineers expect the technology to carve out its own set of applications.
"The LED industry is
huge and not all LEDs will be replaced by these new large-chip products,"
Erchak says. "But a lot of new applications are going to be enabled by this