iLED iLED june 2013 : 10

JUNE 2013 ISSUE N°8 COMP ANY INSIGHT Milestones mark way to wider UV LED adoption Intelligent system design, increased device ef fi ciency and production volumes will help Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. drive UV LEDs into new markets. Cost presents both an opportunity and a challenge to Columbia, South Carolina’s Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SETi) as it seeks to drive adoption of its UV LEDs. SETi’s MEMOCVD AlN-on-sapphire template technology means that it offers the widest range of UV LED wavelengths in the market today. "Spectroscopy and analytical instrumentation markets bene fi t from that portfolio,” said Yuri Bilenko, Products and Sales Manager at SETi. “We cover the entire UV range from UV-A to UV-C with a product offering reaching from 240-360 nm." The bene fi t comes because LEDs can help to drive down entire analytical instrumental system costs. Sources such as Xenon fl ash lamps traditionally used in instrumentation offer broad emission that can be combined with fi lters and gratings to give individual or multiple targeted wavelengths. “UV LEDs allow fl exibility in system design and open the opportunity for compact, lower cost systems by simplifying optics and electronics,” Bilenko said. UV LEDs’ narrow wavelength distribution provides a great opportunity to reduce system costs in single wavelength analytical instrumentation scenarios. And while there are many such applications, market analyst Yole Développement sees market opportunities for LEDs in single wavelength applications as limited. However, SETi has developed products to overcome that weakness. “In many life science and spectroscopy applications multiple wavelengths are needed,” Bilenko said. “For example, protein analysis instrumentation often uses several wavelengths in UV-C and UV-A ranges to determine an optical ‘ fi ngerprint’. So we have packages that can hold up to 24 individual devices addressing different wavelengths, and can easily select independent or multiple wavelengths by applying current to different pins.” In more mainstream markets, such as water disinfection, the cost of the LED itself becomes the driving factor in the decision to convert from traditional sources to UV LEDs. Other fundamental LED parameters, such as power output and ef fi ciency, feed into SETi’s cost targets. The company is already selling devices into disinfection applications, where the total dose of UV is the key to killing bacteria. “Analytical instrumentation is an obvious early adopter for UV LEDs, as it doesn’t need much power,” said Tim Bettles, SETi’s Business Development and Marketing Manager. “To get the dose required for disinfection you either need a lot of power, or a lot of time. Incumbent mercury lamps give a lot of power at low cost, though it’s not all in the UV-C range or focussed at the target. But it’s still a big challenge to meet that price/ performance target. Increasing device ef fi ciency is one way to improve the cost of the system.” SETi surpassed 10% external quantum ef fi ciency in April 2012, setting a UV-C record, thanks to contracts with US military research agency DARPA. It needed to develop high power 280 nm sources to enable single-chip mobile detectors for chemical and biological weapons such as anthrax. “That fundamental technology pushes the power up and costs down,” Bettles explained. And while SETi’s original facility, now called its ‘Advanced Technology Centre’, makes such high-performance products for niche markets, its other key cost-lowering weapon is ¼ mile away. The company has invested $20 million in a high-volume facility that formally opened in September 2012 and has capacity to produce 100 million LEDs a year. SETi’s production line now hosts a fully automated packaging line that allowed it to launch its UVTOP LEDs in a ceramic surface-mount format in February. “We will be able to drive yields up and costs down much lower than today’s, but only in volume, for large scale applications, focussing on a few wavelengths,” Bettles said. These advances are already seeing early customers adopt SETi’s devices into potentially large markets, thanks in part to its applications team, noted Remis Gaska, the company’s President and CEO. “We help intelligently design systems, rather than just replacing a mercury lamp with an LED, which we know doesn’t work from white LEDs’ experience in the lighting business,” he said. “We think about how to format them, lay the light sources out and drive them for new markets”. Remis Gaska, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. Tim Bettles, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. Yuri Bilenko, Optoelectronic Products and Sales Manager, Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. Small packages, large scale: SETi is manufacturing its SMD UV LEDs in high volumes to deliver low costs for large scale applications. (Courtesy of Sensor Electronic Technology Inc) 10 i LED

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