Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Goodbye bluish lighting, Hello Sunshine

With EU support, scientists have delivered a light-emitting diode (LED)-based system that produces full colour rendering and has 95 % efficiency. The new lighting even allows you to programme a circadian rhythm of light fluctuation from your cell phone.
Goodbye bluish lighting, Hello Sunshine
Solid-state lighting using LEDs has taken a major market share from standard fluorescent lighting in recent years. LEDs offer higher energy efficiency and rapid start-up at a reasonable cost. However, poor colour rendering resulting in a bluish output can be unpleasant, stressful and tiring for the eyes. When used for surgical lights, they can impair the ability to discern skin, tissue and organ details, affecting the quality of surgery.

The EU-funded project 'High efficiency and rendered colour using LED solid state lighting' (HERCULES) sought major improvements in LED-based illumination with a key target being the medical sector. Scientists focused on increasing the efficiency, brightness and colour of a medical luminaire (complete lighting unit) while ensuring that it can be disinfected. Efficiency depends on LED selection, colour mixing, the electronic driving circuitry and the thermal design.

HERCULES delivered an advanced lighting system that combines light from different LED sources to produce near-perfect colour rendition across the full visible spectrum at extremely high efficiency.

Scientists showcased the technology in two demonstrators: a bed head light and an examination light. The bed light has controllable colour temperature to match the natural circadian rhythms of day and night. It comes with a dedicated programmer, but can also be programmed and controlled from a smartphone. The examination light is equipped with five colour settings ranging from cold to warm white light. The high R9 (saturated red) colour rendition enables greater resolution of tissue differences for surgical procedures, whereas the cold white setting supports general examinations and is particularly good for visualising veins, required for safe and painless drawing of blood.

HERCULES developed a highly efficient, full colour rendering and cost-effective LED lighting system with broad applications wherever good colour rendition is a necessity. The technology will significantly enhance the competitive position of related small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU. Partner SMEs have developed a realistic exploitation plan and are on their way to market. Reduced energy usage associated with lighting will have important impact on operating costs as well as emissions and global climate change.

Related information


Light-emitting diode, LED, bed head light, examination light, colour rendition, solid state lighting
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