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In these days of soaring energy prices, every use of energy is under pressure. With domestic users seeing over 10% of their electricity bill spent on lighting and commercial users significantly higher, lower energy lighting represents a way to significantly reduce energy costs.

LED emitters for bulk lighting present many opportunities for innovation but also have significant technical challenges. The potential for production of high quality lighting with radically reduced energy usage is clearly an opportunity.

What is the ‘state-of-the-art’ in lighting and what might the future offer?
- James Baker

The initial purchase cost of quality LED lighting is still a barrier to large-scale adoption but is reducing year-on-year. The forthcoming ban on incandescent bulbs in 2016 will help to re-balance this by removing the lowest price point competition. It is anticipated that technical and manufacturing developments will enable the initial purchase cost of LED lamps to be competitive with top-end compact fluorescent within a few years.

Another interesting opportunity is apparent in OLED technology. Organic LED technology offers an interesting innovation angle by providing a large panel emitter rather than the point source offered by inorganic LEDs. With costs of approximately 50x that of inorganic LEDs and luminous efficiencies currently comparable to halogen incandescent bulbs, this technology is not commercially viable today but offers great potential for future innovation with costs and efficiencies predicted to improve rapidly.

So what are the key knowledge points for LED lighting today? What is the ‘state-of-the-art’ in lighting and what might the future offer?

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