Monday, July 12, 2010

Edge-Lit LED Flat Panels: A Bright Future for LED Technology



When you ask somebody to imagine the ceiling of an office, they normally will picture a checkerboard of illuminated panels and ceiling panels. These panels have typically been illuminated using fluorescent tube lights and a plastic light diffusing panel. Edge-lit LED flat panel technology will soon be revolutionizing the way offices are lit and replace the mercury based fluorescent bulbs with clean and longer lasting light. Edge-lit LED panels are illuminated using a limited amount of LED bulbs. The LED bulbs are installed along the edges of the panels. The LED light travels across the panel’s acrylic surface via channels and grooves cut using a laser. The small sizes of LED bulbs coupled with the edge-lit design give the panels unprecedented benefits and versatility in size, shape, and application. The panels have a typical width of only 8mm to 14mm (up to 30mm with a frame for the panel) and can be cut to any shape, size, color, or color temperature. The possible applications for such versatile low profile lighting are nearly limitless. Current venues in which this lighting is already being used include the office, railroad car lighting, back lighting, product display lighting, boat interior lighting, and others.

Edge-lit LED panels have all of the benefits of other LED lighting. Their minimal wattage, high luminosity, and 50,000+ hour lifespan makes them a truly unbeatable lighting option. Furthermore, LED lighting is fully dimmable and would thus give you more flexibility in your office or store lighting than fluorescent lighting would. Edge-lit LEDs also eliminate the need for plastic diffuser panels and lamp starters, both of which fluorescent lighting require.

Edge-lit LED panels are not currently being produced by any major manufacturers, but this is probably only a very temporary situation. In June of 2010, GE signed an agreement with Rambus, a major technology licensing firm, for use of their LED technology licenses. Included in these licenses is Rambus’ edge-lit LED panel design, so expect to see GE offering these panels in the near future. Other manufacturers of LED panels include Green Lighting, Joliet, LPS Excil Electronics, LED Cool Lights, and others. Edge-lit panel technology represents the forefront of an ever-expanding body of LED technologies. Keep your eyes peeled, and we will too, for this exciting new LED technology.

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