Boston’s LED Cluster: Lighting Up Everything From Projectors to the Pru

4/20/10Follow @xconomy

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a total of $159 million, with the most recent Series F round coming in at $19 million. The company started chasing down large LEDs when projector company InFocus said it wanted larger-scale LEDs for their devices. The company realized that the same technology could be used in rear-projection TVs that relied on Digital Light Projection (DLP) technology. It succeeded in that quest, and produced red, green, and blue LED chipsets that were taken up by Samsung for its TVs.

When cheaper, sleeker LCD TVs completely overtook those powered by Digital Light Projection technology in 2007, Luminus adapted yet again. LED technology to light up small-scale devices such as flashlights, medical devices, projectors, and architectural lighting became its next mission. This past January, the company announced that Samsung and LG were using its technology in their projectors.

Luminus is working on permeating the general lighting market to illuminate residential and office settings. The lack of white LEDs has produced a tough barrier to entry in this space for LED technology companies. But Luminus found a way to do this in February 2009 when it teamed with Nichia, a Japan-based LED maker.

Luminus Devices is now depending on lighting fixture partners who are willing to make inserts that would allow the PhlatLight chips to be plugged into sockets designed for traditional bulbs, a move the company thinks will be facilitated by the federal government’s push for energy efficiency. On Monday the company announced Philips would be using its PhlatLight chips in its LED display lights, which are ideally suited to lighting museums and art galleries.

—As you can tell from the Luminus Devices story, color presents a challenge in the LED lighting space. QD Vision, a Watertown, MA-based company seeks to use what it calls quantum dot technology to efficiently replace traditional incandescent lighting without the harsh color and tone characteristic of many LEDs. QD Vision is applying quantum dots, which are semiconductor crystals that emit light when excited by light or electricity, to films that can go over traditional LED devices, making the light more akin to the warmer illumination provided by incandescent bulbs.

Last month, Charlotte, NC-based LED maker Nexxus Lighting (NASDAQ: NEXS) announced it was shipping replacement light bulbs with QD’s dot films, making QD Vision the first company to apply quantum dot technology commercially. The company has secured nine patents, and has another 120 pending.

QD Vision LogoQD Vision has raised $33 million from North Bridge Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners, DTE Energy Ventures, and In-Q-Tel, the venture-funding arm of the U.S. intelligence community. At present, the startup’s technology is occupying the home and commercial lighting spaces, but it sees a future in using its quantum dot films to light up screens in TVs and cell phones.

—Boston startup Digital Lumens is uniting LEDs with networking and software technology to create a complete smart lighting system that aims to shrink commercial lighting costs by 90 percent. The company, which has raised about $11.3 million from backers that include Flybridge Capital Partners, Stata Venture Partners, Black Coral Capital, and individual investors, is out to transform … Next Page »

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