One of the latest advances in solid-state lighting technology is taking phosphors away from the chips themselves.
A new technology called remote phosphor promises to improve the light quality and distribution of LEDs, as well as allow for easier design customization.
Just as the name implies, remote phosphor means the phosphors used to create white light are not directly on the chip, as in most LEDs. Instead, the phosphor is layered onto a substrate separate from the LED chip.
“When you have an LED chip, you get a lot of loss when it reacts with the phosphor right on the chip because you have re-emission in all directions, with 50 percent of your light going backwards into the chip,” says Julian Carey, Director of Marketing at Intematix, which carries a line of remote phosphor components called ChromaLit. “With remote phosphors, you have the chip by itself, so now you have more control over the optical control area. Most use a mixing chamber to direct all the light back out of the fixture.”
Aside from higher light output, remote phosphors are also more customizable, with the ability to create uniform, curvilinear and three-dimensional lighting designs.
“It’s like the fluorescent you’ve always wanted, with more design freedom and flexibility as well as higher quality of light,” Carey says.
Remote phosphors also have improved efficacy over other LED systems, thanks to their lower operating temperatures, as well as better light distribution.
“You can create whatever intensity pattern you want,” Carey says. “You don’t have to have lumpy distribution patterns or glare spots or anything like that.”
Remote phosphors also work with other solid-state lighting technologies, including organic LEDs (OLEDs).
Intematix released its ChromaLit line in January, and several manufacturers are currently incorporating them into lighting fixtures set to debut in 2012. Intematix also introduced a line of ChromaLit components that enable 3-D shapes at this year’s Lightfair Intl., which companies can use to make light bulbs.