Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Illumination made to measure

14.05.2008
Light-emitting diodes save energy. In terms of their light output, however, they have so far been unable to compete with light bulbs. A new, low-priced optical component is set to change that situation: It concentrates the light and directs it precisely to where it is needed.

Light-emitting diodes are unbeatable in terms of energy efficiency. A one-watt LED delivers roughly the same optical output as a hundred-watt light bulb. If a high light output is required, however, the tiny light sources are not the preferred means of illumination. A novel optical component is set to change that situation.

It directs the light to the exact spot where it is needed. In the case of a desk lamp, for instance, the light can be concentrated in such a way that only a DIN-A4-sized surface in the middle of the table is brightly lit. The LED evenly illuminates the required area, while everything else stays in the dark.

“A light-emitting diode is a single-point light source that emits light in a large, uncontrolled area,” says Dr. Christian Wenzel, head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen. “We use special lenses to direct all of the light to the place where it is needed, thus increasing the efficiency of the LEDs. The spot of light created by the light source does not therefore fade out at the edges, but has a sharply defined edge.”

This channeling of light is based on a free-form system of optics – a plastic lens whose geometry can be shaped in any way desired. “The lenses are cast using an injection-molding technique. The two halves of the tool that serve as a mold have to be aligned with extreme precision just once – they have an accuracy of a few microns, or less than a tenth of the diameter of a hair. Once the tools have been tared, the lens can be manufactured in large batches at low cost,” says Dr. Wenzel. The researchers at the IPT have optimized the entire process chain: from planning and manufacturing the lens systems to checking their accuracy. “There’s nothing like it anywhere else in Europe,” the expert claims. There is just one challenge that had to be mastered: The plastic, which is inserted into the mold when hot, shrinks as it cools – the finished lenses are therefore slightly smaller than dictated by the mold. The researchers take this effect into account by repeated, gradual improvement – to an accuracy of a few microns.

When the lenses are finished, the scientists check them. To do this, they project a pattern of stripes onto the lens. The distortion of the stripes reveals the curvature, inclination and shape of the lens.

The researchers will demonstrate the entire process chain along with optical systems for practical application at the Optatec trade fair in Frankfurt from June 17 to 20 (Hall 3, Stand D53).

Dr.-Ing. Christian Wenzel | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Further information:
http://www.ipt.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake
12.12.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Two holograms in one surface
12.12.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>