Separation and Simplification Give Intematix LEDs an Edge

Intematix is a Fremont, California, company that specializes in phosphors for LEDs.  Phosphors are the chemical powders that coat LED chips, fluorescent light bulbs, and other devices.

Intematix has developed a unique innovation for LED lighting, which it offers in its ChromaLit product line.  In conventional LEDs, the LED chip and phosphor coated lens are parts of the same component. 

Intematix’s technology involves separating the LED chips from their complementary phosphors.  In the company’s LED bulbs, the phosphors convert blue light emitted from the LED chips to the white light that shines from the bulbs. 

According to this Greentech Media piece and the company’s web site, this innovation provides several advantages. 

It reduces costs along the manufacturing and supply chain by eliminating the need to make and stock different colored LED chips; a generic blue chip can simply be combined with the appropriate phosphor lens to produce the desired color.  In addition, the gap between the phosphor lens and the LED chip allows heat to dissipate, which increases performance and extends the life of the LED bulb.

Intematix owns at least two patent applications that describe this innovation.  U.S. Application No. 2010/0164346, entitled “Light emitting device with phosphor wavelength conversion,” shows an embodiment of an LED device 50 with phosphor materials 60 on the transmissive window 58 rather than within the recesses of LED array 54.

U.S. Application No. 2010/0321919, entitled “LED based lamp and light emitting signage,” explains some of the advantages of separating the phosphor lens from the chip:

An advantage of providing the phosphor remote to the LED is that light generation, photo-luminescence, occurs over the entire surface area of the panel.  This can lead to a more uniform color and/or correlated color temperature (CCT) of emitted light.  A further advantage of locating the phosphor remote to the LED die (i.e. physically separated from the LED die) is that less heat is transferred to the phosphor, reducing thermal degradation of the phosphor.  Additionally the color and/or CCT of light generated by the panel can be changed by changing the phosphor panel (window).

The approach seems to be a commercial success:  according to the Greentech media article mentioned above Intematix has achieved a profit in four of the last six quarters and has recently seen 50% annual growth. 

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.