Many of you are familiar with the name Bridgelux for a variety of reasons, including their awesome multi-chip arrays, as well as the use of their chips in many Asian LEDs. Well, you may become more familiar with that name in the near future now that Toshiba, one of the largest electronics producers in the world is taking a huge interest in the relative start-up. Follow along after the break for more details.
Toshiba is taking an equity stake in the Livermore California company to help produce their products, as well as advance new LED technology to help drive the cost of the devices down to levels that will make LED products affordable to everyone. While most Bridgelux products outside of their actual LEDs don’t have direct applications to our aquariums, the change in technology on the LED front will eventually trickle down to us.
What Toshiba will be helping with is the advancement of fabricating LEDs using semiconductor grade silcon wafers as a substrate, which is a far more mature manufacturing process than any other LED fabrication approach. As a result, the cost to produce LEDs will drop dramatically. While most of you have heard us talking about the cost reduction resulting from using silicon carbide as a substrate lately with the new batch of Cree XB-D and XT-E LEDs hitting the market, silicon is poised to reduce costs even more.
While it’s currently unclear how much time it will take to start ramping up the new technology and resulting products, there is a strong chance that this technology will end up becoming available to us reefers soon enough. Bridgelux’ own products will be the first to see the change, but it’s a safe bet that it will end up trickling down to their raw chip sales to Asian manufacturers, driving the cost of Asian fixtures down to the range of inexpensive T5 fixtures.