Rambus launches off-the-shelf LED light guides for superior efficiency and control of light

Rambus Inc. unveiled a new line of off-the-shelf optical light guides that are used to create ultra-thin LED edge-lit luminaires for a range of lighting applications. The new products deliver the performance and efficiency benefits of Rambus’ proven MicroLens technology, which have shipped in over 6 million light guides and used in fixtures around the world. The new LED light guides provide the time-to-market advantage of standard products.

The LED light guides use MicroLens Optics with a constant density pattern that can be used in a variety of form factors and applications. They are particularly well suited for recessed and suspended luminaires in offices, schools, hospitals and high-bay buildings. The products are cost effective, energy efficient and provide greater control and directionality of light, allowing designers more time to spend on developing creative luminaires.

Using Rambus’ advanced design tools, optical designers can vary the size, shape and pattern of the MicroLens optics to create the desired light output, distribution and aesthetics for a wide variety of fixtures.

Each MicroLens optic is less than a millimeter across. Whether custom designed or in a uniform pattern as part of a standard product line-up, MicroLens optics enables precise control of the light output type, ranging from diffuse to specular. Once the MicroLens design is complete, it is programmed into our high precision CNC machine that can accurately hold tolerances down to 5 microns. Here, the master die is cut and used as the template for making the light guide molds.

After the master has been cut to the required dimensions and patterned with the correct MicroLens optics, it is carefully placed into the electroforming tank where nickel is plated onto the master, creating the shim that is used as the mold in the injection molding process. The shim is subsequently placed into one of our injection mold machines where liquid optical grade plastic is melted and injected into the mold, taking on the MicroLens shape and pattern.

Once set, the light guide is removed from the press by a robot handler and taken to the cooling rack and inspection station. At the inspection station, the light guide is examined to verify that the MicroLens Optics were properly formed and in the correct pattern. After the inspection, the light guides are sent to the profiler which trims and polishes the light guide to the desired size.

The initial launch includes three product families with distinct optical patterns for varying aesthetic and functional requirements including the S-Series uses specular optics and offers maximum ray angle control and lowest glare; the SD-Series provides good glare control and a wider downlight and uplight distribution; and the D-Series provides a uniform light distribution with a more diffuse appearance.

MicroLens optics are three-dimensional elements that are embedded into an optical waveguide or film that provide customizable control of uniformity and light direction for superior application efficiency. Using our proprietary optical modeling software and design techniques, the MicroLens features and patterns can be customized to efficiently spread the light across the entire lighting surface, or direct it to specific locations.

The MicroLens optics are embedded directly into the light guide using injection molding, extrusion, or hot embossing processes. With advanced modeling techniques, the depth, shape and density of the MicroLens features can be optimized to support a broad range of lighting solutions. Light injected at the edge of the light guide is directed using the custom design of the MicroLens optics.

Rambus’ new offering includes customizable light guide design and manufacturing solutions with expert optical engineering support. Additionally, its light guides are available as off-the-shelf designs that are optimized to specific customer and application requirements by varying the size, shape and density of the MircoLens optics. Manufactured at the company’s facility near Cleveland, Ohio, where over 7 million light guides have been produced on custom-designed equipment and processes, the light guides can support both flat and curved designs in a range of high volume lighting applications. In addition, complete fixture prototype designs that combine optical innovations, design engineering and manufacturing support services are also available to lighting system companies and fixture manufacturers worldwide.

“Rambus has a strong history partnering with our customers to produce light guides that have been designed and built to custom specifications for optimal quality and control of light,” said John Langevin, general manager of Lighting for Rambus. “With the addition of standard products, we are able to leverage our expertise and technology to provide fixture designers access to our MicroLens technology without any custom tooling or non-recurring engineering. This reduces development time and cost, and accelerates time to market.”

The light guides are available for immediate shipment in six standard sizes, with additional sizes available upon request.

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