IoT Functionality in Luminaires Might Be the Way of the Future

For some time now, the capability of light cells to distribute power and connection to IoT-based (Internet of Things) devices has been clear. Predictions and theories no longer seem like idle chatter as fully-functional LED units are now showing proof of concept and are capable of connecting IoT devices.

LED units such as these made a splash at Chicago’s LightFair International 2018, as leaders in the LED driver sectors arrived with products that look to move the conversation along in regards to an IoT/LED alliance. A unified industrial standard in a rapidly evolving IoT field will be critical to rolling out this technology.

The IoT-Ready Alliance, in fact, is a collaborative industry group that formed in 2017 with these very concerns in mind. IoT devices powered by luminaries and LED fixtures seem to be a perfect fit, both from an energy and technological perspective. To put it simply, LEDs are a low-energy consumption resource that can carry Wi-Fi connections within its output, and they can do so in a practical (and moveable) way — not to mention across multiple wavelengths. But this capability does not mean that the technology to get us there is easy.

Some of the biggest issues regarding LED-powered IoTs begin with the drivers themselves, which makes the developments at the LightFair all the more compelling. Several manufacturers attended with drivers fully capable of IoT/LED connectivity: from a dual-channel driver that can separate LED broadcasts from one housing, to an auxiliary 12V and 24V DC output capable of powering itself without a secondary power plant (a problem that has been worked around, but with added cost, for some time).

All of this is building toward what many see as an underdeveloped field: smart houses. Although the technology exists and the concept is clear, the depth to which most common homes are connected and run through IoT devices and apps is astonishingly thin. It’s an industry that will likely expand, and LEDs could be the engine for that growth.

To get there, it will be necessary to have a calibration standard strictly based in the world of IoTs. The field has lagged due to cost and technological issues, and as the IoT-Ready Alliance makes clear, a lack of concrete guidelines by which all LED-powered IoT devices can look toward. In a future where LEDs drive the connectivity of the internet, consistency in capability will be even more vital.

Product Spotlight: OL 458-4 White LED-based Calibration Standard

Deriving from our high expectations, the OL 458-4 White LED-based calibration standard is an elite measurement unit. This fixed luminance sphere was created to provide hyper-accurate optical readings for a wide array of instruments. Those instruments include, but are not limited to:

  • Micro and Telephotometers
  • Image intensifiers
  • Imaging photometers and colorimeters intended for photometric, radiometric, and spectoradiometeric response

Compact, tough, and designed to last, the OL 458-4 consists of two basic units: an optics head and a power supply. By using this setup, remote location comes into play. This allows for a more flexible positioning of the integrating sphere in regard to its tested instruments.

The OL 458-4 is not defined by its compact design alone. It integrates cutting edge advancements in the world of integrating spheres. Among them:

  • Optional rotating mount support bases
  • Luminance uncertainty a mere ±0.5% relative to NIST
  • A proprietary coating of Optolon 2 material
  • USB connections allow for control via remote location
  • A 5030 K color temperature (this is approximated)

Uniquely, the optics head of the OL 458-4 White LED-based calibration standard contains dual input sources, each with several LEDs embedded. Sources are funneled into a 4-inch integrating sphere, which provides exceptionally diffuse reflectance (based on the VIS/NIR wavelength range).

LEDs are some of the most efficient stimulators of phosphors in luminance calibration. By placing them in the OL 458-4, they permit a consistent spectrum over a wide range. Additionally, the unit does not require connection to a computer system, allowing for mobile and field work when needed.

Features beyond those mentioned above include:

  • Quick and efficient warm up
  • Internal meters to track usage rates
  • Color temperature stability ± 25 K (with regards to calibrated value)
  • Stability over a vast range of ambient temperatures
  • Cutting edge application software (included)

With uniformity at ±0.1, the OL 458-4 presents itself as a top-level calibration device. We offer customizable features that cover both design and output, so we can fulfill your laboratory’s specific needs. A calibration standard refined skillfully, and delivered with a modern touch.

Can Light be Turned Upside Down?

When optical scientists talk of turning light upside down, they aren’t merely thinking of hanging a light bulb in a garage. A more accurate description of this technique would be: the intentional subversion of the hyperbolic metasurface from which light pushes outward. Of course, that’s not really clear either. Optical science and calibration standards are very often an extremely technical subset of the scientific community; so just what were scientists from San Sebastian, Spain reporting in a recent edition of Science?

Let’s start with this: optical waves of light proceed away from their source in a way that is convex (or circular, for an easier concept). They do this in almost every situation, and to date, there has been no known way of switching this convex form on the metasurface. But it had been thought that if the surface the light was moving from was calibrated correctly, a change in this circular format could be possible.

Researchers in Spain may have done just that. Using boron nitride and infrared light, the teams proved that they could indeed stimulate concave light waves. The metasurface is extremely fickle and needs replication on the nano-scale in order to create. The team used a combination of electron beam lithography and the aforementioned boron nitride (in flake form) to achieve the desired results. However, according to researcher Saül Vélez, “the same fabrication methods can also be applied to other materials, which could pave the way to realize artificial metasurface structures with custom-made optical properties.”

So why does the concave or convex shape of wave light even matter beyond the interest of some dedicated scientists? In a very simple sense, much of our modern technology is propelled by optics, and any innovation on that front can lead to a myriad of useful inventions. LEDs are a great example of this; the ways in which they have become integrated in the world is far beyond what was originally envisioned.

In the near future, upside down light (if you will) shows the promise of uncommon metasurface that may open our eyes to new optical techniques. Calibration standards at only the most intense levels will be required to make further progress, but researchers have taken an important first step in unlocking a new code on the light spectrum.

 

Product Spotlight: OL 455-6KSA Ultra High Uniformity Calibration Standard

Our reputation is built on optical measurements and their accuracy, and into this tradition steps the OL 455-6KSA Ultra High Uniformity Calibration Standard. With precision always on the mind, we’ve created a sphere source that can handle a wide range of testing needs.

The OL 455-6KSA offers three options in one package. The first is the elongated sphere, adding uniformity by a factor of 10x in its very design.

The second is the automated variable aperture drive. This unique design allows for improved accuracy, all while lowering the amount of time it takes to find a luminance objective.

Finally, the OL 455-6KSA comes built with a stabilized monitor detector. By incorporating this stabilization technique into the original build of the unit, we’ve made the detector stay at a stable temperature without the need for any secondary modifications.

Critical design notes:

  • Next-level uniformity
  • Automated variable aperture drive design
  • Stabilized monitor detector
  • Elite image calibration
  • Automated control and high accuracy
  • Wide ambient temperature range

Applications:

  • Image sensor calibrations

Automated control is the key to the capability of the OL 455-6KSA. Control equals accuracy. Lower time scales for testing, important for any world-class laboratory, are a noted feature of the OL 455-6KSA.

Stabilized monitor detectors read with little change over time in terms of readable output when compared to standard based monitor. These concepts combined make the OL455-6KSA an optimal choice above the field.   

Optical measurement tools require the utmost attention to detail, and to get them, careful testing and calibration must be possible. The OL 455-6KSA Ultra High Uniformity Calibration Standard offers this and more. For more information on the ways that we can increase your testing ability, call or send us an e-mail at anytime.

LEDs to Light up Modern London Stadium

It’s easy to espouse the virtues of LEDs, as there are many, and they often show themselves in unconventional situations. From diodes that assist in mosquito control to those that reduce carbon emissions, the more esoteric uses of LEDs have become very common. To make all of this possible, photometric standards are of the utmost importance.

However, there are some fairly predictable uses of LEDs; maybe there is no better example than the new stadium for the Tottenham Hotspurs, where they’re planning to install LED floodlights. Sports stadiums are ideal venues to take advantage of LED lighting. Whereas old-school stadium lights consumed concerning amounts of energy, the energy-efficient LED is an unparalleled upgrade. They are also consistent light sources and capable of customization based on the event; concerts and sports outside of soccer will of course have different needs.

The stadium, which the team is expecting to open in the fall of 2018, came in at a cost of 1.2 billion dollars. Some of its architectural statistics are equally eye-popping, including the 54 rooftop columns that will house the reported 324 LEDs that will be required to light the stadium. All 61,559 seats will benefit from a consistently lit structure that will primarily host English Premier League (EPL) games.

Many sports leagues seem to be going in this direction. Both Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres currently have stadiums powered with LEDs, and the Arizona Cardinals take the lead in LED lighting in the National Football League. As costs decrease and the benefits of cutting energy become more obvious, it seems likely that many teams will begin to follow this path.


In order to light such complex venues, LEDs must be set up in equally complex ways. But the technology has come a long way over the years, and jobs like the new Tottenham stadium are no longer daunting for LED vendors. Photometric standards will be vital to the future of lighting and so will consistent product testing. It is here that Gooch and Housego can be of great use. With our calibration instruments, as well as years of experience, we look forward to a future in which LEDs illuminate every goal.

Product Spotlight: Aries

As we continue to set benchmarks in terms of industry capabilities, we never lose sight of our original products. The OL 770 is one of Gooch and Housego’s cornerstone products, featuring many of the dynamic optical measurement innovations that still define the company. To assist even further in the stringent world of metrology, we created the Aries Spectroradiometer.

The Aries is a highly reliable optical measurement instrument with impressive technical specifications and a software package optimized for research level precision. Calibration verification is delivered at a reduced time-frame due to our unique built-in wavelength check and reference lamp.

Some other impressive technical specifications include:

  • Wavelength accuracy ±0.5 nm
  • Operating temperature 5 to 35 degrees C
  • Operating temperature 5 to 35 degrees C
  • Optical bandwidth (when including 100 micron slit) 2.5 nm
  • Quantum efficiency >90% at 650 nm
  • A/D rate 250 khz
  • Optical aperture f/2

Founded on some of the principals of the OL 770, the Aries unit incorporates techniques that will be key for any professional laboratory. And at 21 pounds, Aries is a spectroradiometer that is both durable and easy to transport. User-endpoint arrangements are pre-set to have a minimal learning curve, but with elite technical output.

Low stray light, an extremely high-dynamic range, and straightforward pass/fail indicators, round out some of the many features of the next-generation Aries. Readings and results from the Aries can be automatically merged into Microsoft Word and Excel products.

Aries Applications:

  • LED measurement
  • Display testing
  • Transmittance measurements
  • Spectral radiance/irradiance measurements

Our products are intricate, smart, consistent and usable: the Aries fits all four categories. As technology relies further on photometric accuracy, your lab will require elite equipment to align optical measurement instrumentation correctly. We will continue to evolve with the field, as the journey from the OL 770 to the Aries shows. For more information on our products and abilities, contact us anytime at 407-785-6005.

Product Spotlight: OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System

Light displays are a constant in modern life, so much so that they can often become an afterthought. But the quality and reliability of any display, as smooth and straightforward as it may seem to the user, did not get that way by simple chance: it arrived through constant testing and a battery of calibration standards performed by elite labs. And although hidden from the public, professionals understand the array of precise instruments needed to achieve color clarity, luminance, and reliability.

Light testing is a specialty at Gooch and Housego. The OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System performs a variety of measurements from sunlight readability to ambient contrast ratio. Ideal for those in the world of R&D and quality assurance, our design is also user-friendly and intuitive.

The system features both a multichannel spectroradiometer and a CCD imaging telescope. These are combined with high-powered software for some of the most precise and usable color or light readings in the marketplace.

Additionally, our interface setup is designed to be clear and easy to sort. Using a combination of graphs, reports, and spreadsheets, the data that comes from the DMS can be applied to your existing software infrastructures. Straight-forward fail/pass lighting indicators further the ease-of-use.

The OL 610 CCD can work remotely, allowing it to make readings in places other instruments simply may not be able to reach. It also can have customizable fields of view created by G&H upon request.

At Gooch and Housego, our calibration standards are beyond just what is necessary. We strive for perfection. In the lab, and in our products, we help create a more functional world, done with precision. For more information on OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System, always feel free to contact the photonic experts of Gooch and Housego at 407-785-6005.

Deep-Brain Stimulation Using Optogenetics Has Potential to be Non-Invasive With New Study

The human brain is a complex organ that has challenged scientists for centuries. They often struggle to find suitable treatments for an array of maladies. But over the years, there has been progress: unique items such as fiber-optic probes have become options for those with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or serious injuries. However, to date, most therapy is highly invasive and often comes with side-effects to the patient that can be on par with the actual disease itself. What can something like photometric standards and optogenetics do to help in this arena?

According to researchers in a recent groundbreaking study out of Japan, light technology can indeed help quite a bit. Using blue light with carefully manipulated wavelengths, the team showed they can modify nerve cells in a completely non-invasive fashion. In doing so, researchers could activate or disable the cells on command with the power of blue light.

The applications of such a technology in medicine could potentially be widespread, but the application of it is very complex and guided by strict photometric standards. So far, researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have only tested this use of optogenetics with mice. Challenges include blue light penetration levels, which are addressed with nanoparticles that can convert low-energy infrared light. There is also an issue with heat creation based on energy production within the brain, though that issue is minor.

But through all the possible issues is the potential benefit: non-invasive brain therapy that could precisely modify cells at precisely the right moments. All with the help of optogenetically modified blue-light. Research with mice showed that inhibited cells could stop seizures; perhaps one day light-stimulated nerve cells could help to activate parts of the brain dormant in injured patients.

Remote and non-invasive light therapies may very well be the future of certain medicines. Research teams like those from RIKEN are just beginning to crack the code as to exactly what wavelengths of carefully modified light can do when expertly directed. Photometric standards have a clear role to play in making certain the metaphorical blades that researchers use will always be sharpened to the appropriate degree.

Product Spotlight: MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter

Colorimeters and photometers can sound like exotic instruments used only for a select group of applications. But in fact, the uses of colorimeters or photometers, and the variety of industries they are employed in, is tremendously diverse.


Photometers are routinely combined with colorimeters, and the result (when done correctly) is an object that can measure an array of sources. The detection of light, to the exact proton, can be deployed in everything from aviation technology (cockpits, lighting displays, exterior identification signals, etc) to roadway lighting and sign reflection.

The state-of-the-art MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer system from Gooch & Housego. Compact and rugged, the Mantis weighs a mere 1.8 pounds but can power your laboratory into another level of light and color classification.

This elite instrument does not require years of experience to operate: usability was factored in to its design, and can be seen most clearly by the user in such functions as the direct pass/fail display. MANTIS is also compatible with the most current Windows operating systems.

Features of the Mantis include:

  • Full field luminance and color measurements of lighting and displays for high-speed production
  • Tristimulus color coordinates (XYZ and x,y, Y)
  • High-speed GigE interface
  • Rugged enclosure and compact footprint

So we’ve come a long way with photometrics, and the expansion of needs for this precise light measurement technology looks to only grow. Our calibration standards are up to the task. For more information on MANTIS, always feel free to contact the Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego at 407-422-3171.

Simplistic but Powerful: LED Lights and Their Influence on Climate Change

Climate change is, to put it mildly and without conceit, a hot topic. In both public and private industry, concerns about the changes wrought by a disrupted climate often must be factored in when making any future projection: from construction to agriculture, military concerns to the environment we still hope to preserve. But although climate change spreads its metaphorical tentacles across a wide swath of industrial concerns, how could photometric standards factor in?

The answer is simple, and it also elevates one concept in a range of solutions put forth to curb the accumulation of carbon in our atmosphere. LEDs, a benchmark in photometric standards and a place where growth is always possible, have proven to be incredibly useful at cutting carbon emissions. And though lights might not seem like the place to start with climate change, perhaps they deserve a closer look.

LEDs help in an indirect fashion by simply using less power (on a tremendous scale) to light the world around us, and they reduce the amount of coal and oil needed to create said power. We’ve known this basic concept for a while now, but new research from the firm IHS Markit puts it into more bold terms.

According to their calculations, LEDs were responsible for a half-billion ton reduction in carbon deposits in the atmosphere in 2017. And they have the added benefit of cutting carbon use without the always tricky part of imprinting lifestyle changes among world populations. Most people are not even aware that an LED light is powering a lamp, or a stoplight, or a storefront, as opposed to a much less efficient fluorescent or incandescent bulb.

LEDs are currently scaled out pretty well in most public and private places. But the saturation point is very far from being met, and the new innovative uses for LEDs (based on research enabled by photometric standards), moves those goalposts even further. Not only that, but as the developing world creates first generation grids, LEDs can be used as the base power process as opposed to a replacement. LEDs look to just be one tool in the box when it comes to reducing carbon in our climate long-term; it seems however that this will be quite a powerful tool. This technology will make the world more efficient, and less reliant on traditional energy sources, one simple light cell at a time.