Lighting the Way into Summer

Author:
Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Date
06/01/2023

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Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

I can’t believe that half the year has gone already. It seems hardly any time has passed since the start of the year and we are are already in the month with the longest day! June is my favourite month in Scotland. Because of the country’s northerly location, it is light right up until 11pm, and then the sun comes up as early as 4.00 am. Unfortunately, winter is the exact opposite and it feels like it is never light, especially if you work in a windowless factory or warehouses as many people do. The lack of light in winter can affect the mood of some people, sometimes so strongly that there is an actual term for it, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Most of us don’t really think about light a lot. It is either there or it isn’t. And when it isn’t, a simple flick of a switch and it is there again. However, light plays a huge part in all or lives, not just people affected by SAD. Lighting itself takes up a significant amount of the energy we generate. The US Energy Information Administration estimates in its Annual Energy Outlook 2023 that in 2022, the U.S. residential and commercial sectors combined used about 213 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity for lighting, equal to around 5% of total U.S. electricity consumption.

Our Special Report this month focusses on lighting. In our first article, Michael Cao from Rutronik talks about lighting, where it is used and how. It is a really interesting article that looks at what types of lighting are best suited for applications in the context of Smart Cities, and how that light can be used to manipulate our senses. For example, light that is similar to daylight brings greater concentration and safety in the workplace. Warmer lighting is more conducive to relaxation. In the article Cao looks at lighting in areas such as urban farming, detection and safety.

Of course, all that light needs to be powered, and the next two articles in the Special Report explore that topic. The first of those is an article by Tom Curatolo from Vicor, which looks at powering LEDs in displays. LED displays consume a lot of power, even smaller ones. To power the displays efficiently, while keeping the power supply small and light is important to manufacturers. The article looks at one way this may be accomplished.

The third article in this month’s special Report comes from Analog Devices and concerns automotive lighting. In the article, the company’s Joshua Caldwell describes the benefits, trade-offs, and applications for the different switching topologies used for LED drivers in automotive applications.

 

Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD

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