Soraa Introduces 'LED 2.0' GaN-on-GaN Technology

FEBRUARY 8, 2012 | By Semiconductor Today

Soraa Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which is developing solid-state lighting technology built on 'GaN on GaN' (gallium nitride on gallium nitride) substrates, has launched its flagship product, the Soraa LED MR16 lamp.

The new product is claimed to be the first LED lamp to provide performance superior to a traditional halogen MR16, and the first to provide halogen-equivalent brightness without requiring a mechanical fan, as well as payback within months rather than years. Based on its GaN on GaN technology, the firm describes the Soraa LED MR16 lamp as representing an 'LED 2.0' stage in lighting technology.

Founded in 2008 by University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) professors Shuji Nakamura, Steve DenBaars and James Speck, Soraa is backed by over $100m in funding from Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and NGEN Partners. As well as its lighting products design lab, the firm has what it reckons is the world's first commercial GaN on GaN light-chip fabrication plant.

Soraa's proprietary GaN on GaN technology yields what is claimed to be the highest-performance LED MR16 lamp on the market. Its pure GaN crystal is reckoned to be up to 1000 times purer than GaN on sapphire or GaN on silicon carbide (SiC) substrates (the existing platforms for LED lighting technologies).

"Our technological foundation enables Soraa products to emit more light per LED material and handle more electric current per area than competitors, providing the highest-quality light that makes for a perfect, more energy-efficient replacement for traditional halogen lamps," claims CEO Eric Kim, who has experience in technology and brand development leadership from his previous tenure as an executive at both Intel and Samsung.

The flagship Soraa LED MR16 lamp, available first to commercial customers, is priced to achieve payback in less than one year. The firm chose the MR16 format because it has been the most difficult LED lamp to do correctly, given its small size and intense, high-quality brightness requirements. Soraa's GaN on GaN MR16 is reckoned to be the first LED to rival the traditional 50W halogen. Its perfect crystal structure delivers a bright, highly focused, controlled beam with the ability to produce a high color rendering index (CRI) and center beam candle-power to match a standard halogen lamp. Soraa's efficient thermal design also delivers halogen-equivalent performance without requiring a mechanical fan. The lamp's single-source LED design provides crisp object definition with solo shadow, uniform color and a what is claimed to be a perfect beam pattern. Additionally, it features optimized electrical design for compatibility with all common transformers and dimmers, both indoors and outdoors.

"I've been searching for a long time for a quality LED to replace an MR16 halogen," says US-based lighting designer Randall Whitehead. "Soraa's lamp is a quantum leap over what is currently on the market, offering brighter light, dimmability, long lamp life, as well as dramatically improved energy efficiency," he comments. Soraa's lamp is the first LED MR16 he has found that outperforms halogen lamps, he adds.

"Lighting affects the way we see the world, and good light can make anything more compelling," says co-founder Shuji Nakamura. "At Soraa, we are proud to create efficient lighting products that do not compromise on performance, offer the highest quality available and greatly reduce energy waste."

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