LED Technology has Matured into Li-Fi

The term Wi-Fi has become so ingrained in our popular lexicon, that announcing that there may be a new system on the way could take a little time to get used to. Li-Fi, powered by careful LED calibration, is slowly but surely making inroads around the planet. To be fair, both systems (Wi-Fi and Li-Fi) are relatively similar; they are hyper-speed communication systems that transmit data. Where they differ, though, could end up being ground-breaking.

The concept is fairly straightforward in some ways: Wi-Fi systems rely on radio waves in order to transmit data, whereas a Li-Fi systems would link via the light spectrum. This light spectrum can be something as simple as an LED light bulb. Bulbs are basically electrical signals, but they can be multi-purpose, as the same current that brings light to your room can, conceivably, be re-purposed to expose that same room to data. It’s taken years for LED technology to come to the point where it can carry our data, but many industry insiders believe the technology is here, and investment in Li-Fi systems are blooming.

There are some drawbacks to Li-Fi, but more pros than cons once you start weighing them. In brief:

Pros:

  • Li-Fi has extremely impressive gigabit per second transfer abilities; some estimates are around 224 gbs per second. This difference is due to going outside of traditional radio waves.
  • Short range equals more secure connections. Whereas Wi-Fi can be picked up on by sensitive equipment at an exceptionally long distance, Li-Fi can be tuned to go no further than the light of a single room.
  • The ability to connect to a very specific IOT (Internet of Things). By focusing optical Li-Fi on your devices, you can provide them with a direct data stream.

    Cons:    

  • You need light for LED optical Li-Fi to work. The connectivity of the system is limited to where and how you’ve positioned a set of bulbs. Some actually see this as a pro, in terms of security and stability, however, the limitations of such a system should be noted.

All of that is just where Li-Fi is at now. As LED calibration and light systems evolve and become more complex, it stands to reason that Li-Fi technology could get more sophisticated along with it. Running data through light as opposed to radio waves presents a tremendous opportunity which we have great expectations for. For more information on LED calibration or technology, or our products and services, call us at 407-422-3171.

Unique Ways Lasers are Used Everyday

The conception of laser technology (more specifically, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation: LASER) dates back to the 1960s. A basic classification for lasers as compared to any other type of light comes from its irradiance and highly-concentrated powers. When the concept of lasers was first being defined, its uses and promises seemed high, but we’ve gone so far in a mere half-century that it’s worth taking note of the litany of ways in which we use lasers in daily modern life.

This could be a long list. In lasers, we’ve discovered an invaluable tool that has uses in everything from medicine to communication. No doubt, the world would be a rather different place without them. Some of the ways in which they are used may surprise those without technical knowledge of these luminous beams. Here are just a few of the unique utilizations of lasers:

  • Cameras

The world’s fastest camera could only be powered by laser technology. The STEAM (Short-Time-Encoded Amplified Microscopy) is a breath-taking piece of technology that can take approximately 6.1 million pictures a second. It was created by University of California scientists. The camera takes so many images by using an intricate system of infrared lasers and will be used to capture images of sub-atomic particles.

  • Air Force Technology

From laser guided missiles to lasers used as missiles themselves, the military’s uses for lasers are widespread and sometimes worthy of science fiction. Lasers themselves have widespread uses in avionics that go well beyond defense capabilities.

  • Laser Movies

In South Hampton, England, a ground-breaking technology that is Europe’s first “all-laser” movie theater was constructed. The machines are said to provide superior picture as well as 3D imaging. At a reported cost of around 105 million U.S. dollars, those are some top-level movie projectors.

  • Super Science

Some of the most fascinating uses of lasers, and often the least heralded, are the contributions they make in assisting the scientific community. Massive, multinational projects such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (the world’s fastest particle accelerator that allowed us to confirm the existence of black holes) and LIGO (a hyper-complex device that recently made the detection of theorized gravity waves) were made possible with the use of exceptionally fine-tuned lasers. Lasers have only recently found the level of calibration necessary to make these discoveries.

The world of laser technology is bound to continue to grow. For information on Gooch & Housego or our products, such as spectroradiometers, contact us anytime at 407-422-3171.

LEDs May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

LEDs could one day be the medicine that treats many of our more complicated diseases and illnesses. That future is still pretty distant, but more and more it seems that we are getting glimpses at it. Take, for example, recent research into one degenerative disease that has been confounding those in the scientific medical community for many decades: Alzheimer’s. A team of researchers at MIT recently have begun to discover mechanisms for manipulating brain waves called gamma oscillations, which, with the proper LED calibration, have shown the ability to stimulate cells known to combat the “plaque” that Alzheimer’s seems to be related to.

The study, which is extremely preliminary, was published in the December edition of Nature, and the work of the MIT lab itself was documented in a recent episode of the always scientifically-curious RadioLab podcast. And, although the understanding of the technique is limited, the findings were so surprising that they have drawn attention worldwide.

The process used by Li-Huei Tsai and her team at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory goes something like this; Alzheimer’s disease is marked by an overabundance of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, which clog up brainwave paths (in theory, their exact mechanism is still a bit murky) and impair gamma oscillations brain waves. By stimulating these damaged gamma waves in the brains of mice using specific hertz of electricity, the revitalized brainwaves “cleaned up” the problematic amyloid plaques. They would do this naturally in the brain of a patient without Alzheimer’s.

Problem number one for Li-Huei Tsai’s team was that doing this, even in mice, was incredible invasive; they had to drill a microscope hole in order to get the laser light through into the brain. There needed to be a better (and safer) way of stimulating the gamma oscillation brainwaves externally. Here is where Tsai and her partner Emery Brown thought of an ingenious concept: using highly-calibrated LED lighting to achieve the same effect. The hole now, if you will, is basically the animal’s eyes as they absorb LED light waves. They found that specified LED calibration at 40 hertz in a flickering nature for one hour, achieved remarkable results in terms of gamma oscillation stimulation.

The question now, for both Tsai’s team and the rest of the medical community, is multi-fold. What is the best LED calibration to accomplish maximum helpful brainwave stimulation? How long do these effects last for? How much, exactly, will they help in terms of treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s? It should be noted that the research here, just on gamma oscillation and amyloid plaques alone, was very promising before this LED concept. Finally, will this treatment, once refined, work on the human mind? Here’s to hoping the answer to all of these questions will be positive, and that LED technology will lead the way to a bold medical breakthrough.

Product Spotlight: OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System

Calibration is the key to make use of light and energy. From scientific labs to aircraft illumination, understanding the power emitted by wavelength is important for work in education and a huge variety of industries. In few instances is this more true than with light displays; simply put, the usefulness of a display system can be measured only in the type and consistency of illumination emitted. For this reason, having a world-class spectroradiometer is paramount. Gooch and Housego has just that with the OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System.

Versatile, technical and intuitive to use, any manufacturer of display units needs the capabilities it features. Quality assurance is the engine by which technology companies run and are measured; to fall short here would often be to lose credibility. The OL 770 Display Measurement System has a wide variety of applicable uses due to its well-honed software and high-level technical abilities. Featuring wavelength accuracy at ±0.5 nm, 16-bit A/D resolution, and polarization error <1%, this spectroradiometer’s sensitivity and facility are nothing short of superb.

Beyond the technical highlights, the OL 770-DMS excels in its level of ease during day-to-day use. This sets it apart from other spectroradiometers in the field. Features such as the ability to automatically store tested data in an Excel™ format or the single-click interface presentation puts your lab’s capacity for information processing at the highest of levels. We’ve designed the system to allow the software it runs off of to work for you, as opposed to having to work to understand it. This means you can easily create customized reports and spreadsheets that are easy to use and are based on the needs of your spectrometric testing.

Included in this package are straight-forward fail/pass parameters that leave no confusion as to test results. Gooch and Housego’s technical prowess and cutting-edge abilities are well known and on full display with the OL 770-DMS. We achieved premier spectroradiometer sensitivity levels by creatively combining a CCD camera with direct viewing optics in our OL 610 CCD Imaging Telescope (one portion of the unit). This state-of-the-art piece of equipment was merged with a multi-channel spectroradiometer, and like magic, OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System was born. For more technical information and pricing, contact the leader in photonics at (800) 899-3171. We have the systems that can take your technical ability and precision to the next level.

Self-Assembling Perovskite Particles Pave the Way for LED Technology

LEDs in the 21st century have easily overtaken 20th century lighting forms, like fluorescent bulbs, in the realm of energy conservation and relative luminosity. The spread of LEDs worldwide is relentless and positive, as their benefits become increasingly well known. As this happens, older modes of lighting, be they household or industrial or commercial, are increasingly being phased out. However, LEDs clearly becoming the light fixture of the future is by no means a reason for the technology to slow down or rest on its laurels. With careful LED testing, we’ve seen that the full potential of light-emitting diodes has not nearly been reached.

A group of researchers from Princeton proved this to be an evident truth quite recently with their pioneering work on perovskite particles.

  • Traditional LED lights, for the most part, are powered by gallium nitride based in silicon with carefully-calibrated energy properties.
  • Perovskite particles are crystalline compounds that can be both super conductive or semiconductive, but their use is just recently being explored in regards to lighting.

The Princeton research team published results in January of this year in Nature Photonics stating that they developed a technique that pushed nano-perovskite particles to, more or less, self amass. This ability could lead to a more viable path forward for perovskite to be used easily in commercial LED settings in the future.

  • Barry Rand, part of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton, said about the work, “Our new technique allows these nanoparticles to self-assemble to create ultra-fine grained films, an advance in fabrication that makes perovskite LEDs look more like a viable alternative to existing technologies.”

The self-assembling particles are just one piece of a complex overall chemical structure that looks to refine and invigorate the stability and power capabilities of LED light panels. This could be especially useful as the solar sector continues to need better source materials for absorption and storage.

All of this innovation hinges on one important aspect: the ability for careful and detailed LED testing and calibration. Without the machines and technology to understand the wavelengths as well as their cumulative impact, further LED research would be difficult. But, we do have the calibration technology, and we do have the know-how. Gooch & Housego is at the forefront of this rare and technical scientific headwater. For more information on our products, contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll-free at 800-899-3171.

Color Temperature Tuning Shows Potential for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

The brain is a complex instrument. Our understanding of the effects of light on the chemistry of this intricate system is surprisingly thin. But, in recent years, both fields, brain science and lighting science, have seen rapid growth. Studies now reveal that light works on everything from PTSD sleep trauma to the moods people have in train stations. Add to this list a recent piece of research that showed the possibility that simply by being exposed to certain light colors and temperatures, the emotional effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s may be dialed back. This is only made possible through accurate LED calibration and ongoing research.

In method, the study was straightforward. Researchers installed lighting, as well as timers for certain color displays, in a senior center located in Sacramento, California. Here is the concept by the numbers:

  • Illumination was tuned carefully to 2700 kelvin (k).
  • Short-wave blue spectrum light was used for patient’s rooms in the morning.
  • Energy costs, just from switching to LEDs for the study, were seen to be reduced by some 68%.
  • Behaviors associated with the diseases (agitation, anxiety, etc.) were reduced by 41% over the course of the study.

This improvement in the mental health of the elderly patients was made possible through careful control of light levels. It is also something of a novel concept; until very recently, LED lighting was not so easily programmable for color changes. That has changed rapidly lately, and as study into the effect of LEDs on the mind continue to press on, the market and need for easily-programmable LED color lighting could grow.

Nurses and resident caregivers were allowed to control the lighting system based on what they were seeing at the moment, although the entire system ran off of a formal script. This light pattern script was devised to change both the intensity of the LED lights, as well as their color, based on time of day. Researchers have long known that melatonin and circadian rhythms were attuned by lighting patterns, but only recently has our ability to so specifically fine-tune the artificial lighting around us come of age.

This was a small study done by the Department of Energy (DOE), and the researchers pointed out that much larger-scale investigation on LED calibration and light wave brain interaction is needed. But, as with many studies of late, the small sample results have been so explosively positive that hope in the field of dementia and Alzheimer’s study is high that LED systems could prove to be a powerful medicine. For more information on LED calibration, contact the experts at Gooch & Housego at 407-422-3171 or toll free at 800-899-3171.

Insect Eye Technology Allows for Smaller Devices with Greater Precision

The visual ability of insect’s eyes, most renowned in the compound eye types found in advanced arthropods, has always perked the human curiosity. Tiny and multi-faceted, hyper-thin insect eyes have a range of motion and resolution in an impossibly compact size. For years, scientists have struggled with ways to replicate some form of this ability, and a microscopic two millimeter mosaic camera developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena, Germany, may have come quite close. Tested to precision with spectroradiometers, the basic concept is a tiny flat camera whose lens actually contains 135 micro-instruments all recording visual data from alert unique angles.

Each one of the 135 facets takes in a very particularly piece of the surrounding environment, creating rotational optics that have been described as insect-like. The benefits of using such a technological system could be widespread: every place we use small cameras now (phones, medical instruments, cars, etc.) could be brought up to a stronger resolution and optical level.

As Andreas Brückner, a main project manager on the team that helped create this optical device technically put it: “With a camera thickness of only two millimeters, this technology, taken from nature’s model, will enable us to achieve a resolution of up to four megapixels,” he said recently. “This is clearly a higher resolution compared to cameras in industrial applications.”

Current smartphone cameras generally feature a lens size around five millimeters, and they have a lack of flexibility by basic design. Although the relative thickness may seem somewhat inconsequential, that difference is massive for designers who must tailor optical ability only to where it can be fit. By improving resolution and visual arrays, on a much thinner scale, the applications for camera technology in tiny products becomes boundless.

This flat camera, or FacetVision as it’s called, was shown off by the Fraunhofer Institute this past January at a trade show in Las Vegas. Its admirers were immediate. Further adapting this technology will require significantly attuned spectroradiometers as well highly sensitive photometric testing. This will be especially true the thinner developers can manage to make mosaic lenses; the limit has not really been tested yet. For more information on spectroradiometric instruments and products produced at the highest level by Gooch and Housego, email orlandosales@goochandhousego.com or contact Maureen Knowles at 407-422-3171 (Ext: 206).

With Winter Blackout Fears Looming, LEDs are a Solution

Winter storm season is in full swing; the ice and snow is looming with each passing front and arctic blast. From Europe to the Americas, power grids are pushed to the edges of their limits. The National Grid, Great Britain’s main electric conduit, reported that it would be in a “tight but manageable” situation over the coming months; the gap between demand and the ability to generate power potentially fell within 1.1%. Many factors contribute to the strain of a nation’s power grid, particularly in the winter, but one that has come up in England is the progression from coal to solar. While this is a positive trend, locally-generated solar has obvious issues with the cloudy winter skies and shorter days. A solution to this pressure seems clear to some: installation of more LEDs made possible only by the use of better photometric standards.

One study by an industry analyst showed that if home lighting were completely switched to LED throughout the U.K., peak energy demands would be reduced by 2.7 gigawatts. This is roughly equivalent to 2.7 billion watts, with one billion watts being a very common supply size for one large, modern city. Beyond just being good environmental policy, by switching over more fully to LED lighting, energy costs will lower along with demand. The stability and health of overall national power grids, a concern worldwide as infrastructure ages, would be boosted.

Many cities and states are switching over to LEDs within their municipalities, from streetlights to the glow of public parks. The same study cited above showed that a total swap (in England) for public LEDs could save a further 0.5 gigawatts. The applications beyond public utilities and in-home lighting are even more enormous. Generally, some of the biggest users of power are large, commercial public and private buildings; moving to LED lighting in looming office structures would be a positive for both a company’s bottom line as well as the nation’s power grid.

In order to properly establish the right variety of overall LED setups for a world increasingly in need of them, proper photometric standards will be vital. Obviously, not all lights serve the same purpose, and LEDs can be retrofitted in such a wide assortment of ways that saving power with equal luminance should become rather detailed. Our electric planet should be fine-tuned to the needs of the 21st century, making for a cheaper, brighter, and more environmentally friendly system. For more information on our experience and LED products, contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll-free at 800-899-3171.

Four Emerging Uses of LEDs

New uses in the field of LEDs seem to be popping up not yearly, but weekly. With the rapid growth in our technical ability to create this source, and with our ever-expanding LED calibration techniques, the industries and places where LEDs can and will be making a difference are incredible. It’s no longer just a different light bulb in your reading lamp, but a different disease that may soon be wiped out. LEDs are so revolutionary and versatile in their abilities that many of the ways they can be used just aren’t common knowledge. Below are four emerging and fascinating ways in which LEDs may be put to use in the future.

Better Tasting Milk

As bottles sit under harsh fluorescent lighting in grocery stores, some people have always felt that the conditions sour the taste. That intuition is beginning to be backed up by science; a recent study by researchers at Virginia Tech showed that LED lights interact with riboflavin more favorably than fluorescent lighting. This leads to better tasting milk. Plus, more widespread use of LEDs in grocery stores is a net positive for energy rates.

Lowering Suicide Rates

This incredible aspect of LED lighting has been used in Japanese bullet train stations for almost a decade now, and there is data to back it up. Using soothing, blue LED lights, the Journal of Affective Disorder found an 83% decrease in suicide attempts in comparable stations. Exactly why this seems to work is the source of debate and theory. But the fact that it does, for whatever reason, is powerful.

Mosquito and Malaria Protection

This one is pretty simple; mosquitoes (and many prey insects) aren’t actually attracted to the light that lamps put off, but the heat. Enter LEDs. With basically zero heat, it is believed that if LED lights are used in massive levels in the developing world, mosquito attraction will drop in urban areas. And with it, the rates of malaria are in decline. There is still some attraction based on lighting in general, many researchers have pointed out, but this could be better handled by flexible LEDs positioned correctly.

Better Agriculture

As the world population grows and land for widespread agricultural use becomes more scarce, there is hope for low-energy, high-yield crop growth: vertical farming. Using LED lighting and highly detailed calibration, companies are using stacked farming techniques inside abandoned or unused urban structures to grow crops. Additionally, finely calibrated LEDs can actually result in more stress-free livestock. With vastly lower energy and water use, this food of the future is seen by some as a technique that could be a billion dollar industry quite soon.

These are but a few of the many ways LEDs are improving and evolving our world. Gooch & Housego has the world-class instruments and LED calibration techniques to move in step with every advance in LED technology. For more information on our experience and products, contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll-free at 800-899-3171.

LEDs Expected to Lead Future of Sterilization

It’s amazing the things that light and energy can do. Often, advancements in civilization and technology are driven by processes from which most of us never give a second thought to. Sterilization, down to the microbacterial level, is one of those pieces of progress rarely discussed in history classes and looked at by futurists, but undoubtedly, our ability to clean medical tools and drinking water is a very powerful source behind humanity’s ability to prosper. In decades past, this highly-important but unsung process was completed with the use of mercury lamps, which produced proper waves of ultraviolet radiation in order to get the job done in most industrial settings. But as we enter a new technological era, one marked by our increasing ability in LED photometric standards, we may be embarking on a revolution in sterilization with uses that we can’t yet even imagine.

LEDs used for the disinfection of tools, lab equipment, medical gear, and even drinking water comprise an industry some expect to soon explode. One analyst group recently pegged the possible market share at $610 million by 2021. There are some hurdles for the LED sterilization marketplace to overcome before becoming a reality, however. For one, mercury lamps work. As a deeply ingrained sterilization technology, they have the current advantage of both familiarity and our experience in using them.

Mercury lamps also have significant drawbacks. They are expensive, bulky, and only useful to professionals on a large scale. Additionally, mercury lamps are inefficient and require special disposal. Because the lamps contain mercury, they can’t simply be put into a dumpster or trash compactor because they could potentially break and release mercury into the environment. Both the EPA and local governments set strict disposal guidelines.

But what if you could use the effective ultraviolet light sterilization process without the dangers of mercury involved? In steps LED technology. At present, the only thing holding LEDs back from fully taking over the industry itself is the technology. Mercury lamps are incredibly powerful emitters of short wave ultraviolet light, and at our current place in time, LEDs have yet to be able to scale up to their power. However, innovations in photometric standards and careful calibration techniques appear to be quickly shortening that gap in power: LED light is exceptionally versatile, and we are still uncovering techniques for deploying the light spectrum it gives off. Configured correctly, LED arrays will likely match the brute wattage of industrial lamps in the very near future, and at a fraction of the cost and size. One day, a rural family could purify water from a well with an LED configuration that fits into a device the size of a soda bottle. This is the dream and the hope for the future of LED light sterilization technology.