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Expectations Dim for OLED Lighting

High costs could keep white organic-light-emitting diodes off the shelf

3 min read

A new report suggests that organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, won't come anywhere close to replacing conventional illuminators like incandescent and compact fluorescent lightbulbs in the foreseeable future. The analysis, conducted by Lux Research, a technology consultancy based in Boston, is marked by an extremely bleak projection of the worldwide OLED lighting market in 2020—a mere US $58 million in annual sales.

But experts from industry and academia and even other independent analysts aren't nearly so pessimistic, with one annual sales projection in the billions of dollars. Which future for OLED lighting comes to pass will depend on how much technology developed for OLED displays proves transferable to the lighting world.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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