Cree to Obsolete The Light Bulb?

Hmmmm….could be. Cree just announced they have achieved 1000+ lumens from a single-die XLamp LED driven at 4 Amps yielding a luminous efficacy of 72 lumens/watt which is about the same output level of a standard fluorescent lamp. Wowza! That is a lot of light but at the same time, that is a lot of current when you consider that most of today, commercially released high-power LEDs are driven at about 350 mA. I would really like to see the cooling that was employed. I’m thinking cryogenic perhaps or BHF’s (Big Honking Fans) maybe? How long did the XLamp last before it ruptured the space-time continuum and disappeared or melted into a pool of molten semiconductor?

Anyrate, the disclosure is very positive news for Cree and the LED industry at large. It’s only a matter of time now before LEDs are the defacto-standard in home lighting.

Click here to read the entire story

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7 Responses to Cree to Obsolete The Light Bulb?

  1. Jim Allen says:


    This prototype probably uses a 2mm*2 chip. Swoboda made a comment during the Aug07 CC that the size of lighting LED die would vary from as large as 2mm squared to 200 microns squared. This will probably become an EZB2000 chip.

    This is a 14watt device at 3.5V. Is cooling a 14watt device really such a big engineering challenge?


  2. craigbic says:

    Well, considering that cooling 350 mA devices is a challenge (heat-sinking is required for these) and when you overdrive those 350 mA devices up to 750 mA or when you run 1 Watt, 750 mA devices the heat is intense and active cooling is often employed, one can only imagine the heat generated by a 4 amp device. While one can imagine many ways to cool such a device, how many of those ways are commercially practical? The engineering isn’t in question.

  3. craigbic says:

    I forgot to mention in my last post:

    The more interesting thing about this achievement is not the light output but the incredible efficacy from the LED.

  4. Jim Allen says:


    Cree says that it usually takes about a year from a laboratory demonstration to a production product. This announcement says 12-24 months, suggesting that the lead time will be longer than usual. Why spill the beans so soon? Could it be that a chip as large as 2mm**2 is not economical on 2″ (sapphire) wafers and Cree is doing some trash talking?


  5. craigbic says:

    Well, that’s a good point and I’m sure that it’s not terribly economical to produce or to practical to cool, even if the chip is that large.

    However, It’s real positive press and they’ve been making a lot of that lately and they want to keep doing that. Osram recently announced record breaking output from red and green LEDs so I’m sure that had no small part in the decision to release the story now. Also, their stock was down to $15.47 at the end of January 2007 and looking at the bigger picture they seem to have leveled off since 2000/2001 so with the rise by 10% from about $24 up to about $27on the rumor that GE could buy them out, they could just be looking to start a trend.

  6. Hey! The DOE issued it’s final Energy Star criteria for SSL products effective 30SEPT2007! Shoot on over to my Architectural Lighting Blog to read the whole story and get a copy of the requirements!

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