Solid-State Lighting- Powerful Platform for Change

Most of us take light for granted, but not everyone is so fortunate.  An estimated one and a half billion people live without access to light other than the sun.  That is more people than existed on the planet in 1879 when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

Most people do not realize it took nearly five decades, with the development of widespread centralized power, before everyday people felt the impact of his remarkable discovery.  Edison knew, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” His contributions to light technology ultimately empowered healthier and more productive lives.

Glass tube incandescent light bulbs remain in service yielding about 12 lumens per watt, which is relatively inefficient nowadays.  Providing about 60 lumens per watt, gas-filled CFLs provide less than ideal light quality.  Twelve times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, high brightness LEDs yield better quality light at roughly 150 lumens per watt.  In theory, LEDs last 35,000 hours.  In practice, LED light sources powered by 120V AC require conversion to DC power.  Electrolytic capacitors only last a few thousand hours.  By bridging that disparity, we will ultimately tap the full potential of LEDs.

Exciting developments are underway in the solid-state lighting industry.  Commercial buildings equipped with PoE cables can run low voltage LED lamps and signal transmissions for remote monitoring.  LED advances are yielding horticulture applications that stand to dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce water and energy demands to grow food.

Light has been called the simplest and quickest way out of poverty.  A non-profit organization has developed inexpensive LED light sources utilizing a small battery and equipped with a solar panel for recharging the battery and cell phones. Watts of Love provides portable lights to communities in the poorest regions of the world.  Their work changes lives.  Light allows doctors to provide emergency medical treatment and midwives to care for infants born at night.  Light allows work after the sun goes down.  Light supports literacy and education by allowing students to study longer.  Light means fewer families forced to choose between food and expensive kerosene fuel.

The future of solid-state lighting will change lives in ways not yet even imagined.  At Molex, we honor the legacy of Edison and other inventors through our own innovation and work to build ever more powerful technology platforms for positive change.