LED Testing – Urban Farming Gaining in Popularity

When you think about where the kale or lettuce that you pick up from your local grocery store was grown, you likely wouldn’t think of a warehouse located a few minutes outside of Chicago.  The reality is that a migration toward “urban farming” around Chicago and other areas of the country is becoming more popular and cost effective, thanks to advancements in LED testing and lighting.

LED Lights Offer Huge Advantages for City Farmers

For a number of years, consumers have began to utilize LED lighting in homes and offices as a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to fluorescent lighting.  However, it has taken quite some time for LED lighting to become inexpensive enough to be utilized by farmers looking to grow large amounts of crops, such as lettuce and kale, entirely indoors.

A company in Chicago recently worked with Philips to install 7,000 LED lighting strips to grow lettuce, greens and herbs. Because of the small space needed to house the LED lighting strips, these urban farmers are able to grow a large amount of produce vertically as opposed to the large amount of land that would be required to grow these crops outdoors. Farmers have been able to replace fluorescent lights with LED lights and stack racks of plants as close as two feet apart. With a 30,000 square foot warehouse, this company is currently producing around 4,000 cases of produce each week.

Scaling Food Production is Vital

As population numbers continue to surge around the country, and around the world, it will be more important than ever to increase food production. Using methods such as vertical farming, it allows farmers to more efficiently grow large amounts of produce in a much smaller time frame. Scientists are working to increase the types of crops that are able to be grown through this type of urban farming, but for now, it looks like they’ll continue to be a lot of green (in the form of lettuce, greens and herbs) coming from these city farmers.

As a world leader in light measurement solutions, Gooch & Housego’s instruments & systems provide accurate, repeatable, research-grade measurements in the US-VIS-NIR-IR wavelength ranges. For more information on LED testing or other services at Gooch & Housego, please call us at (407) 422-3171.

World Prepares to Celebrate the International Year of Light

As we move through the beginning of 2015, the UN (United Nations) is preparing to celebrate what is called The International Year of Light. This celebration aims to highlight light technologies of both the past and present.

2015 Marks Anniversaries of Several Key Events Surrounding Light

2015 marks a variety of events surrounding light. 2015 is the 1000 year anniversary of renowned scientist Ibn al-Haytham’s Book of Optics or Kitab al-Manazir. This year is also the 100th anniversary of famed scientist Albert Einstein’s relativity equations that were tested with light. 2015 is also the 50th anniversary since Bob Wilson and Arno Penzias of Bell Labs made their discovery of the Big Bang theory.

Even with these huge innovations in light across the world in the 21st century, a large number of people around the world still do not have access to light in their daily lives. International Year of Light 2015 is sponsoring a program called Study After Sunset, which is focused on increasing the amount of solar lighting in rural areas in Africa to allow children to continue to receive education after dark each day. Estimates show around 250 million residences in Africa do not have any form of electricity.

A Change is in The Air For 2015

The chairperson of UK’s National Committee for the International Year of Light 2015, Dr. Beth Taylor, PhD, is extremely passionate about providing extended lighting in less populated areas. Dr. Taylor is focused on three primary goals as chair for IYL2015, which include:

  • Making people aware of how dependent we are on photonics and light technology.
  • Encouraging more students to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
  • Keeping the Study After Sunset project at the forefront of the organization’s mission.

Dr. Taylor understands that in the past we have not done enough to make these goals come to fruition. Through her work with IYL2015, she hopes that we will be finally able to attain these goals to make a difference in the world around us.

To learn more about light measurement and instrumentation, browse through the Gooch & Housego blog on our website.

LED Lighting Offers Advances in Horticultural Applications

LED lighting has been popular among a variety of industries as a way to reduce energy consumption and in turn reduce energy costs as well. Researchers are now finding that LED lighting is not only inexpensive and extremely efficient, but it can also be used to boost productivity in various horticultural applications.

GE lighting has recently allowed an industrial lettuce farm in Japan able to produce 10,000 heads daily with the use of LED lighting. Scientists at McGill University in Canada have documented the use of LED lighting to boost tomato production and researchers at Purdue University have documented additional productivity boosts in bedding plants when using LED lighting. These multiple applications seem to prove that LED lighting may provide a much better environment for agricultural applications compared to using fluorescent lighting.

How Does LED Lighting Improve Plant Growth?

A narrow spectrum of LEDs in various colors has been known to enhance the photosynthesis process as well as offer energy cost savings compared to fluorescent lighting or broad spectrum HID lighting that is typically used in commercial farming.

Lettuce Farm in Tagajo, Japan

A partnership between the Mirai lettuce farm and GE Lighting show the huge benefits that can be seen when using LED lighting in urban agricultural applications. This farm uses around 17,500 LED lights and offers a 50% boost in plant production and a 40% drop in energy usage, compared to the previous lighting setup. This translates into a daily harvest of 10,000 heads of lettuce.

Boosts in Production of Tomatoes and Bedding Plants

As mentioned above, researchers have also seen boosts in tomato and bedding plant production with the use of LED lighting. The Purdue University study focused on bedding plants and found a particular boost in production of Penunia, Viola and Salvia plants while using LED lighting.

McGill University studied tomato production under LED light, HPS light and HPS light mixed with LED light.  All of the instances where LED lighting was used yielded increased production while the equal combination of LED lighting combined with HPS lighting yielded the best results.

Much Left to Learn in Regards to LED Lighting and Urban Agriculture

While these findings are extremely promising, scientists still need to study LED lighting in more detail before it becomes commonplace among commercial farms.

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USPTO Sensitive Application Warning System Discontinued

According to LighTimes, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is discontuning a secret program that they had operated for twenty years that aimed to “alert leadership when a patent might issue on a sensitive matter.”  Read more here and how LED innovations might be affected here:

http://www.solidstatelighting.net/news/?date=2015-03-03&id=124758#top

 

 

Real-time Spectral Unmixing Enhances Understanding of Cellular Biomarkers

Using various molecular biomarkers allows both location detail and clear identification of tissue abnormalities, but in theory can severely complicate analysis. Adding acousto-optic tunable filters along with spectral unmixing through multispectral imaging can simplify findings and offer significant benefits for a wide variety of applications such as cancer detection and even neuroscience. Gooch & Housego is excited about this new finding.

Simultaneous use of Multiple Biomarkers Needed

Microscopic imaging has been used to diagnose medical conditions for quite some time.  Recently, molecular biomarkers have been discovered for various diseases, but because these biomarkers lack the specificity to clearly identify a disease on their own, researchers are excited about the use of multiple biomarkers as well in combination to better identify diseases.

Combining several molecular biomarkers with microscopy allows biomarkers to be used for both locating abnormal areas on a microscope slide as well as clarifying these abnormalities.  The problem in the past was that comparing biomarkers to stains was very difficult because the colors were hard to recognize by eye.

With multispectral imaging, analyzing these microscope slides is much more manageable due to a detailed spectrum analysis of each pixel in an image.

Complications Arise When Using Fluorescent Labels

More complications arise with labeling when using fluorescent labels and traditional transmission morphology stains. Certain stains such as Hematoxylin and others make it difficult to obtain adequate signal from fluorescent biomarkers. This is why using multispectral imaging of biomarkers combined with morphology staining produces a more accurate result compared to fluorescent biomarker staining. While transmission stains often cannot be interpreted by the human eye, multispectral imaging can separate the different biomarkers from the morphology staining components even if there is significant overlap.

Multispectral Microscopy in Real Time

Separating multiple molecular biomarkers with traditional microscope imaging requires spectral imaging operating at up to 30 wavelengths, requiring a high-speed camera with a Acousto-optic tunable filter. This AOTF-based imaging system cannot only image but also unmix the necessary components and display them in real time. This level of results offers researchers profound data that can be used to much better identify specific cells which cause various diseases.

This use of AOTFs, in conjunction with spectral unmixing, was recently used to generate overlays to provide additional information pertinent for HPV imaging. HPV is a well-known precursor for cancer so researchers combined HPV imaging with Pap staining to show how abnormal DNA can be recognized on a Pap image based on the presence of HPV. Using a spectral unmixing system offers clarity in terms of the morphology of these cells. This spectral imaging system allows isolation of the most important hematoxylin stain to provide further information for researchers and medical personnel.

Benefit of Spectral Unmixing With Biomarker Imaging

By using AOTFs, images that are created by spectral unmixing can be used with biomarker images that produce overlays that are false-colored to give additional information to better identify potential abnormalities such as HPV, which can lead to more serious diseases such as cervical cancer. For more information about this technology, feel free to call Gooch & Housego at 1-800-899-3171.

Market Study Says UV-LED Market to Grow about $90 Million in 2014 to About $520 million in 2019

According to LighTimes, and Yole Development, the UV LED market has reportedly boomed since 2008 as UV LEDs have taken over the UV curing business from incumbent technologies including mercury lamps. From 2008 through 2014 the UV LED market exploded at a compound annual growth rate of 28.5 percent from about $20 Million to about $90 million, according to the latest UV LED market forecast report from Yole Development.

More here: http://www.solidstatelighting.net/news/?date=2015-02-10&id=124704#top

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Optical Antenna LEDs May Replace Lasers in Communications

According to LighTimes, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a nano-sized optical antenna. The optical antennae greatly improves the spontaneous emission of light from atoms, molecules and semiconductor quantum dots. They could someday be integrated with LEDs to replace lasers for short-range optical communications, including optical interconnects for microchips, plus numerous other potential applications.

http://www.solidstatelighting.net/news/?date=2015-02-06&id=124696#top

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LighTimes: Graphene and LEDs Made with Super-Thin Crystals Pave the Way for Flexible Electronics

The University of Manchester and the University of Shiefield announced that they have successfully created extremely flat LEDs with graphene that are only an amazing 10 to 40 atom thickness which opens the potential for flexible LED lighting.

More here:

http://www.solidstatelighting.net/news/?date=2015-02-03&id=124683#top

 

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Netherlands Health Council Concerned about Blue LED Hazard – Advises More Research into LED Lighting Health Effects

Concerns about blue light hazards from LEDs continue. From LightTimes and an article in NLTimes  the obsequiousness of LEDs and in particular blue LEDs brings in new considerations regarding potential health hazards:

“The Health Council released an investigatory and advisory report which stated that a person’s biological clock “controls numerous physiological and behavioral processes”. The report notes that this biological clock “…operates autonomously, but may be affected due to external factors. One of the most important factors is light.”

The researchers discovered that that people are interfering with their melatonin (sleep hormone) production and thus reversing their biological clocks through exposure to bluish LED light in the evenings. Other recent studies have had similar findings.