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LED engine tackles the auto headlight challenge

03 May 2013  | Elmie Gonzales, Vivek Nanda

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Philippines-based semiconductor company PSi Technologies Inc. is planning to change the high brightness lighting game with its LED engine prototype. Its C-scale LED engine offers a simple but innovative solution for lighting applications that require concentrated high brightness LEDs (HB-LEDs). What's unique about this module is that it has the potential to allow reliable and affordable application in automotive headlights, street lights, spotlights and other industrial high brightness lighting applications.

Industrial light demo

Figure 1: The photo of a 18,000-lumen 36-LED industrial light demo taken at f/10 and a high shutter speed of 1/2,000s.

In a demonstration exclusively to EDN Asia and EE Times Asia, Thomas Moersheim, SVP for Innovation Technology at PSi, showed off C-scale's blindingly bright results from a 150W industrial lighting fixture glowing at 18klm using closely spaced 36 LEDs. The photo in figure 1 was taken at f/10, 1/2,000s exposure and later processed so you can see the individual LEDs.

Copper lead-frame technology
The C-Scale engine works by solving the biggest challenge to reliable high brightness: heat. Moersheim uses regular copper lead-frames, one for electrical connectivity and another to dissipate the heat (as a heat spreader) and keep the LED junction temperatures in a manageable range.

Moersheim said they've managed to demonstrate their platform with junction temperatures below 100°C, while the generally accepted safe limit is 120°C. This enables them to deliver a lifetime of more than 50,000h of continuous usage.

36 LEDs mounted on lead-frames

Figure 2: The SHDMIP concept with 36 Cree LEDs mounted on copper lead-frames.

In contrast, other high brightness LED solutions available in the market today use either ceramic or metal cladded/metal core PCB as carrier and heat transfer medium, achieving a much lower thermal conductivity that PSi is boasting: up to 380WmK. The lead-frame solution is also expected to be much cheaper than what is on the market. The company's stated aim is to achieve $6/klm.

The solution, called Scalable Heat Dissipation Microelectronic Integration Platform (SHDMIP), has been published by patent office but, at the time of this writing, PSi was yet to receive the patent.

PSi's sister company, IMI, is currently developing a power supply in Bulgaria to match the requirements of the LED module.

The company is targeting a licensing model to market its innovation.

In the next few days, EDN Asia will bring you an in-depth look at the technology and the people behind it.

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