Cree claims new white LED benchmark; buys semiconductor firm

By Control Engineering Staff July 3, 2006

Durham, NC— Cree Inc. reports it has achieved 131 lumens per watt white LED efficacy, a level said to set a new benchmark for the LED industry. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) confirmed the results, which were performed using prototype white LEDs with Cree EZBright LED chips operating at 20 mA and a correlated color temperature of 6,027 K.

“This is the highest level of efficacy that has been publicly reported for a white LED,” said Scott Schwab, Cree general manager, LED chips. The results, he added, support the use of LED-based lighting products that save energy and change the way people use light.

Technical advancements at the component level are said to be critical to advancing the use of white LEDs. The lighting industry uses lumens-per-watt to measure the conversion of electrical energy to light. Conventional incandescent bulbs are typically 10 to 20 lumens per watt while fluorescent lamps range from 50 to 60 lumens per watt.

In related news, the manufacturer of LED solid-state lighting components also announced it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Intrinsic Semiconductor Corp. , a developer of low-defect density SiC (silicon carbide) substrates. Cree will acquire all of the company’s outstanding capital stock and options based on a valuation of $46 million. Approximately $43.5 million will be paid in cash, the remainder through the assumption of outstanding Intrinsic stock options. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Integration of Intrinsic technology into Cree’s product line is expected to accelerate development of larger-diameter, high-quality SiC wafers, said to enable new high-power semiconductor devices and lower-cost LEDs. According to Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO, the combined technologies of the two companies will accelerate the commercialization of low-defect 100 and 150 mm substrates and promote higher-power devices for motor-control applications.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk

Jeanine Katzel, senior editor