Osram Pushes White LEDS to World-Record Brightness, Super Efficiency

It's an interesting week in the world of LEDs: on the weekend we heard about ultra-cheap ones, and today Osram (yes, the lightbulb people) has news that they've pushed white LEDs to world-record brightness. By optimizing the diode, light converter and the package, their lab test squeezed 500 lumens out of a single LED at 1.4A. That's bright enough for projector tech, and certainly makes the single unit good for car lighting and even interior lights. At a lower, more optimal, current the 1mm-square white LED had an efficiency of 136 lumens/W which makes it about twice as efficient as standard fluorescent lamps and 10 times a normal bulb. Press release below.

OSRAM Achieves Quantum Leap in Brightness and Efficiency of White LEDs

SANTA CLARA, Calif. —(Business Wire)— Jul. 21, 2008 By improving all the technologies involved in the manufacture of LEDs, OSRAM development engineers have achieved new records for the brightness and efficiency of white LEDs in the laboratory. Under standard conditions with an operating current of 350 mA, brightness peaked at a value of 155 lm, and efficiency at 136 lm/W. In generating these results, researchers used white prototype LEDs with 1 mm-square chips. The light produced had a color temperature of 5000K, with color coordinates at 0.349/0.393 (cx/cy).

The key to OSRAM's success was the efficient interplay among all the advances made in materials and technologies. A perfectly matched system of optimized chip technology, a highly advanced and extremely efficient light converter, and a special high-performance package all combined to produce the world record performance results.

Potential applications for this high-performance LED technology include general illumination, the automotive sector, and any application that calls for large, high-power LEDs. These semiconductor light sources are also suitable for high operating currents. At 1.4 A, they can produce up to 500 lm of white light. This means that in the future the LEDs can also be used for projection applications as blue and green chip versions.

Dr. Rudiger Muller, CEO at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, commented: "It was the successful convergence of OSRAM know-how in different fields that led to these new records in efficiency and brightness. Starting with the light converter, we will be gradually moving these new developments into production." OSRAM has already applied for patents for the technologies that lie behind these world record performance levels

Since Osram says plans are now to move this tech from the lab into production, we can certainly expect to see LEDs in even more places in the future. [Osram]