This week: A development platform for lighting communications, LEDs altering cities' skylines, and stopping light in its tracks.
This development doesn't relate to LED lighting per se, but it is too intriguing not to pass on. Researchers in Darmstadt, Germany have stopped, and stored, information-bearing light for one minute. This is 1 million times longer than had been achieved previously. The light from a laser beam was held in "spin waves" within a glasslike crystal containing a low concentration of praseodymium ions, and the gate for holding and releasing the light was another laser.
The first beam, or control beam, changes the optical properties of the crystal... When the second beam comes into contact with the crystal and the first light beam, it decelerates. When the physicists switched off the first beam at the same moment that the second beam was within the crystal, the decelerated beam came to a stop.
Incandescents going, going in NZ
The New Zealand subsidiary of Royal Philips has announced it will begin phasing out incandescent bulbs from its supply chain beginning October 1. (The Lumileds division of Philips sponsors this site.) David Procter, marketing manager at Philips Lighting New Zealand, said in a statement: "While New Zealand has not introduced regulation to phase-out incandescent bulbs as many other countries around the world have, we believe it is our responsibility as a market leader to help drive the shift to energy efficient lighting."
A development platform for lighting communications
Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler, Ariz., has introduced a starter kit for developing DMX512A or DALI lighting networks, based on the company's very widely used PIC microcontrollers. The starter kit includes two microcontroller boards, two communications-interface adapters (DALI or DMX512A), one prototype board, and cables and power supplies. Software development is based on the free Microchip DALI and DMX512A libraries, which are written in C and can be ported to any PIC microcontroller (8, 16, or 32 bit). The DALI Starter Kit costs $190 and the DMX512A, $245.
LEDs altering cities' skylines
We've looked at the lighting of bridges and skyscrapers. The Archetizer blog takes it up a level and considers how individual buildings, as one by one they are lit with LEDs, blend into city-wide vistas that are transforming signature skylines into something quite new. The piece features sumptuous photos of the skylines of Hong Kong, Dubai, and Shanghai -- how appealing these are will be a matter of taste.
There are also a couple of archival photos of the time when architects went wild with incandescent lighting, before the turn of the 20th century. They eventually settled down to a more functional lighting regime. So there's hope that the LED-lit Wild West of cityscapes will calm down, in time.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting