Text: Dipl.-Phys. Timothy Schwan,
Optics and Electronics Development, Alux Luxar GmbH & Co. KG

14. Nov 2014

The pros and cons of aluminium reflectors vis-à-vis lenses, plastic reflectors, prismatic optics and diffusers

Increasingly more luminaires with conventional light sources are being replaced by systems equipped with LEDs. All fixture types are affected, from track-mounted luminaires to downlights in retail spaces to linear fixtures and surface luminaires for office environments. Thanks to the enhanced efficiency ratings of LEDs plus the fact that prices for SSL solutions are on the decrease, this trend is likely to continue.

But cost-efficiency is not the only goal by far. The light also has to be efficiently focussed on the surface to be illuminated, and that needs to be achieved via the appropriate light distribution. What optical systems are there available that can control the light adequately, what are the pros and cons of the respective optical solutions, and which optical systems are better or less suited for which applications? In general, one can say that in order to provide good LED lighting it is always best to opt for individual solutions, and very rarely resort to universally applicable optics, which, irrespective of the way they work, are able to meet the most stringent requirements. Such applicationspecific optics tend to be substantially more expensive than standard products, although as a rule the additional costs do pay off in the long run. It is not always possible to make a direct comparison between reflectors, lenses, prismatic optics and diffusers, since most of the time the choice of optics will depend very much on the application. Symmetrical lenses are generally preferred for High-Power LEDs, whereas a classic (parabolic) reflector is used for so-called chip-onboard (COB) modules. In the case of linear and surface modules reflector solutions, lens arrays, extruded Fresnel lenses, and diffuser or prismatic panels are all possible.[…]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 95

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