High-power and even super-high-power LED devices need Shapal M for thermal management.
Already a fast-growing market for all manner of electronic devices, LED lighting is set to step into the big time. High-power and even super-high-power LED lights will come to dominate the lighting market of the future for ambient lighting as well as electronic devices. But this will require some clever thermal management and so provide an expanded role for Shapal M ceramics.
Shapal M is a soft machinable ceramic that is a mixture of aluminium nitride and boron nitride. It maintains a very high heat conductivity as well as a high mechanical strength yet can still be machined into complex shapes. This makes it a very useful material for harsh environments, and it is used commonly in spacecraft for missions of the European Space Agency and NASA.
Closer to home it will find an ever greater use in LED lighting appliances. One of the most sorely missed lighting devices has been the standard incandescent bulb. The heat from the lighted filament merely radiated away from the bulb, giving a familiar warm feeling to an otherwise unheated room.
Enter the LED filament. This also produces heat, but in the modern filament lamp it cannot radiate away. So this bulb will need an efficient heat sink. The LED filaments can be mounted on a Shapal M ceramic dielectric substrate and kept cool.
Another very exciting LED technology that will be developed further in 2016 is Li-Wi. This is a super version of Wi-Fi that uses electromagnetic waves from the visible part of the spectrum. Li-Fi speeds are able to travel at one Gigabit per second and higher – far faster than standard radio waves in common use today. This facility can be built into all manner of electronic devices.
Li-Fi is little appreciated at the moment, but at any point it could become the most fashionable must-have, either in a smartphone or to control vast walls of complex lighting patterns. Such lighting may eventually dispense with standard lighting fittings.
However, thermal management remains the most crucial factor, leading to the choice of Shapal M or any other ceramic as a heat sink. Both designers and users will have to make great efforts to understand the physics of the new super LED devices, whose operational lifetime depends on their thermal management.
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