Thanks to some technology borrowed from microfluidics, a 1,500-lumen prototype LED lumenaire produces as much light as a 100-W halogen bulb, using one-third the energy. The lamp design is also about half the size and weight of a 600-lumen LED downlight available today.
The development is a product of scientists from GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Co., GE Lighting, and the University of Maryland—as part of a two-year solid-state lighting program with the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
As part of the DOE project, GE and the research team of Professors Bongtae Han and Avram Bar-Cohen at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering devised novel cooling technologies that effectively manage the heat and promote lower system costs by reducing the number of LED chips required, when compared to conventional cooling technologies.
GE says the cooling technique is based on technology the company now uses in its Aviation and Energy businesses. It uses high-velocity jets of air, which impinge on the LED heat sink. These jets of air boost the heat transfer rate to more than ten times that of natural convection. The better cooling lets the LEDs use high drive currents without losses in efficiency or lifetime.
For a given lumen output, The dual cool jets’ improved thermal management lets fewer LEDs produce a given lumen output. This, in turn, can dramatically lower the cost of the lamp. Consequently, the resulting lumenaire can be smaller and can weigh less.
GE and the University of Maryland are in the final stages of the DOE project. The organizations are now studying ways to improve the reliability and lifetime of LED lighting systems.