Skyrocketing LED Market Will Require Extensive Lead-Free Solder Development

A recent market research report estimates that the solid-state lighting market that produces light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will reach roughly $57 billion by 2018 as a result of consistent double digit growth. While the industry has made significant inroads in the commercial sector, further developments in design using disparate materials joining will be necessary to make an impact in the residential lighting field.

By January 1, 2014, nearly every incandescent light bulb will be off the market due to federal regulations. The current standard is compact fluorescent bulbs, but LED light bulbs are also making inroads. Currently, companies like Cree and Philips subsidiary offer luminaires that look like light bulbs, but the cost savings require homeowners to have them installed for years. The goal to reduce costs will rely in part on Haitz’s Law but moreover on improved product designs with the use of lead-free solder.

Haitz’s Law is a formula estimating that the cost per lumen, or light output will be one-tenth of what it was a decade earlier, while output will jump a similar amount. However, the designs of standard and organic LEDs (OLEDs) require large heat sinks in order to dissipate heat at the junction where light is created.

New solder materials and developments in the technology will likely reduce these requirements, but this must be done relatively quickly in order to meet the Markets target of 25 percent compounded annual growth for OLEDs. Competition is already fierce for applications like TVs, commercial lighting for storage facilities and parking lots as well as backlighting applications.

The last market that will be up for grabs for is both low-cost lighting assistance for screens as well as light bulb replacement options as the cost approaches that of compact fluorescent bulbs and families are unable to buy incandescent bulbs. Innovations are likely to come both from efforts to lower costs of industrial applications as well as work on shrinking backlighting for consumer electronics.

For more information on the Markets for Markets research, visit

Fracking Successes Don’t Diminish Alternative Energy Opportunities

At a time when the U.S. Energy Information Administration has announced significant growth in total natural gas and oil production, it may seem like there are fewer opportunities for alternative energy projects in the United States. However, if companies that produce batteries can improve storage capacity and lifetime for their products, the incentives for companies to develop wind, solar and other energy generation alternatives will be much greater.

Over the past five years, petroleum energy source production has increased by about 25 percent. However, concerns about the chemicals used to force out oil and gas in previously unproductive areas have also grown. Companies do not have to release the contents of their proprietary solutions. There is one major issue that companies that take advantage of solar panels and other alternative energy generation options must solve: better batteries.

Alternatiive Energy - Wind Farms In Texas and the Central Valley of California, it is easy to see massive wind farms, with turbines dotting hillsides. However, just as with wave and solar power, the energy delivery is not consistent. Turbines won’t turn on calm days, and PV panels will not develop power on cloudy days. Currently, homeowners with solar panels can “sell” excess electricity back to their utility company, but on a large scale that is not feasible.

Companies that use metal solders as part of programs to improve battery life will help make the largest leap in technology for perhaps a decade or more. Currently, advances in power management and reduced consumption electronics materials have masked the fact that battery technology has failed to keep up. Whether it is the use of new alloys, manufacturing processes or other ways to improve both capacity and lifetime, research is now placing new emphasis on materials.

To do so will make renewable energy applications like solar panels and wind turbines more feasible on a larger scale. Currently, small-scale projects include a two megawatt battery in the Orkney Islands of Britain and Duke Energy’s 36 megawatt battery for a remote wind farm in Texas, the New York Times report notes.

For more information on the growth of fracking, visit The New York Times piece on efforts to make renewable energy projects sustainable is available at:

A Better Heat Sink: New Ways To Dramatically Increase Thermal Dissipation

Heat Sink - S-Bond Technologies It’s common knowledge that slapping a better heat sink, water cooler, or phase-change unit on a CPU can yield better overclocking results, but there’s more to the CPU cooling issue than simply bolting on a better heat sink. One of the biggest barriers to higher CPU clock speeds is hot spots.


So how do you fix that?

There are a few proposed methods. One alternative is to boost the efficiency of the thermal interface material (TIM). Intel has caught flack in recent years for using thermal paste, not solder, for its microprocessors. Another option is to improve lateral heat transfer within the CPU itself. Other approaches, like computational sprinting, could be combined with new phase change materials like wax to dramatically increase thermal dissipation for short periods of time.

Another solution to the heat issue is to adopt new materials. Certain element combinations from Groups III and V of the Periodic Table are well suited to high-frequency, low-voltage operation.

There’s a third idea out there that’s attracted significant interest in recent years. Why not leverage the advantages Moore’s law still offers to build fundamentally different kinds of chips?

Click here to view the full, original article “Post-post-PC: The new materials, tech, and CPU designs that will revive overclocking and enthusiast computing.”