Feb 20, 2017: The three future LED applications would be micro-LED, laser lighting, and Li-Fi technology, said nobel laureate Shuji Nakamura, who is the inventor of blue LED manufacturing technology.
Explaining the history of blue LED at the Academia Sinica, Nakamura shared his insights about the future of the LED industry.
Nakamura said that since LED lighting has come to a stage of maturity, LED manufacturers are now looking for new and potential markets.
Elected to Taiwan’s prestigious research institution Academia Sinica in 2016, Nakamura received a badge of honor from Dr. James C. Liao, President of Academia Sinica. At the ceremony, Nakamura pointed out that the luminous efficacy of an LED is ten times higher than that of a incandescent lamp, leading to drastic amount of energy saving. He said that when LED lighting replaces all traditional lighting in Japan, it will save energy that equals the sum that seven nuclear power plants generate at once. Also, as an LED lasts for 30-50 years, it does not seem a problem to tackle LED waste in the short term, he pointed out.
In response to the concern of the LED industry that LED market has reached a saturation point leading to a slump in revenue, Nakamura said that micro-LED, laser lighting, and the Li-Fi technology can be the future potential application areas where LED manufacturers can do good business.
Nakamura also pointed out that several applications have emerged ever since LED was invented, like researchers at Academia Sinica use blue LEDs to separate malignant cancer cells from normal cells. Nakamura hopes that that laser lighting will one day dominate general lighting domain, replacing LED lighting. Laser lighting has already been used in the automotive lighting field. For example, automobile manufacturer BMW has started using laser lighting headlights.
Nakamura said that due to long lifespan of LEDs, recycling would not be an issue. However, he is concerned about the recycling of the precious metals used in LEDs.
Nakamura stressed that Li-Fi technology would soon emerge as a promising technology. Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), a visible lighting communication (VLC) system, in which wireless communication travels at very high speeds through LEDs or laser light, will soon emerge as the next big thing, which will enable computers and other home appliances to connect to the Internet with lighting fixtures for data transfer.
Nakamura pointed out an advantage of Li-fi over Wi-fi, that is, it is not limited by bandwidth and the high density of Li-Fi users in an area of a certain size.