This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here because the All LED Lighting site has gone dark. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.

2014-09-29

Monday Roundup: Live Long & Phosphor

This week: Osram lights the Sistine Chapel, a blue OLED breakthrough for more efficient electronics, and Philips to bifurcate.

Philips, after Lumileds, to split in two
We noted the news last July when Philips announced it would combine the Lumileds division (sponsor of this site) with its automotive lighting operation and spin off the resulting company. Now comes word that the remaining part of Philips will further bifurcate into companies focused on lighting solutions and health technology.

Philips said at the time of the Lumileds announcement that it was possible the new company would float an IPO. It seems to me that the latest organizational news increases that likelihood, because there will be no remaining corporate conglomerate to hold onto the components/automotive unit.

Optics.org speculates that Philips's management may have been encouraged towards a breakup by the relatively robust performance of Osram stock once it had been spun out of Siemens.

Osram lights the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church are not known for their agility and speed of execution. The project to light Michelangelo's frescos on the Sistine Chapel ceiling using UV-free LED lights has been underway for several years. The project got started when Osram approached the Vatican and volunteered to improve the notoriously dim fresco lighting that has frustrated Sistine Chapel visitors for centuries.

Now the $2.4 million project (paid for by Osram, the EU, and other contributors) is getting to the point of going live with custom Osram fixtures -- next month, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription may be required, or search Google for "The Sistine Chapel in Rome Gets New Lights.") That article features a somewhat flawed illustration from Reuters, showing a before-and-after of a portion of the ceiling from a test installation in July 2013. The flaw comes from the fact that different portions of the ceiling are shown in the before and the after.

Our original look at the Sistine Chapel project said that illumination levels will be 10 times higher than under the previous generation of incandescents; as the project nears completion, the specs have settled down to a five-fold increase.

Live long and phosphor
This is the title that the University of Michigan gave to its news release, and I could not resist. The reported breakthrough involves blue OLEDs, one component in displays used in smartphones and TVs. (Sorry, no general lighting tie-in here at present.) Red and green pixels in these displays have long been based on phosphorescent OLEDs, which are four times more efficient than the fluorescent variety. Until now the blue pixels have been made from fluorescent OLEDs.

Stephen Forrest, the Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering at Michigan, had introduced the first Pholeds in 1998, and the first blue Pholeds in 2001 -- but the latter didn't last long. Forrest's new development is blue Pholeds with lifetimes 10 times as long as previously achievable. Once this technology makes it into products, the result will be longer battery lifetimes for mobile devices and lower power consumption for large-screen TVs. The displays will also last longer, because the blue pixels won't fade as quickly, throwing off the color balance.

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