The Basics of Lighting Optics

I’ve been writing from time to time about optics, especially related to use in illumination applications. As we learn more about light, what we really want to understand is optics that is the control of light. Let’s take a moment to step back to the basics, and learn a bit more on the optics types available and what they are used for.

Optics: The Science of Light
In fact, optics is a branch of physics: the science of light. Optics technology is concerned with all aspects of the behavior of light and thus covers a broad territory. In the International Year of Light, optics are one of the key-attention area’s, along with a variety of other light based technologies.

What is Optics? Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behaviour and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it.

The Future of Optics
Earlier, I’ve been writing on the ‘Future of Optics Engineering‘ and how the coming of “3D printed optics” will impact and change the future of optics manufacturing. If this topic has your special interest, I can really recommend you reading it!

Below is avideo from the Philips Lighting University, a basic and helpful movie for anyone interested to learn more about lighting optics, light reflection and refraction.

Every night for a moment: Rainbow Station

Rainbow Station by artist Daan Roosegaarde connects the historic Amsterdam Central Station by using astronomy science to create a site specific rainbow of light.

Together with astronomers of the University of Leiden, Roosegaarde unravels light efficiently into a spectrum of colours. Via new liquid crystal technology which is developed for research on exoplanets, Rainbow Station takes the exact shape of the 125 year old historic station roof.

Rainbow Station: Ode to IYL2015
The artwork marks the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the railway station, and the start of the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 – IYL2015.

Rainbow Station can be seen every day for a brief moment within one hour after sunset at Amsterdam Centraal Station (east side, platform 2b). The light and colour offers the fifty million travellers a year, a magical moment at night.

Photonics technologies are everywhere!

Photonics technologies are amazing, fascinating, and you find them everywhere: in communication, entertainment, medical, manufacturing, automotive, energy, lighting, agriculture, photovoltaic, security, art, …!

Day of Photonics
The internationally recognized ‘Day of Photonics’ is almost there, and over 100 companies globally intend to participate in this inaugural edition. On 21 October 1983, the General Conference of Weights And Measures adopted the value of 299,792.458 km/s for the speed of light. At the occasion of the anniversary, organizations in more than 30 countries organize all types of activities, from internal meetings, outreaches to schools, to opening their doors to the general public. The ‘Day of Photonics’ is the ideal excuse to promote ‘photonics’, and the timing makes it ideally suited as a preliminary to the International Year of Light in 2015.

EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium) is the industry association that promotes the sustainable development of organisations working in the field of photonics in Europe. They foster a vibrant photonics ecosystem by maintaining a strong network and acting as a catalyst and facilitator for technological and commercial advancement.

Discover the Miracle of Light: Flying through an Aurora

This beautiful timelapse from space was created from photographs taken from on board the International Space Station (ISS) by the Expedition 40 crew, end of August, 2014. They ISS crew flew right through a massive aurora after a solar mass ejection took place.


Natural Light Display

An aurora is a natural light display in the sky. It originally comes from the Latin word aurora, “sunrise” or the Roman goddess of dawn. The Aurora is especially visible in the high latitude, the Arctic and Antarctic regions. It is caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere: the thermosphere.

Auroral Zone
Most auroras occur in a band known as the ‘auroral zone’, which is typically 3° to 6° wide in latitude. Most often, it is vividly around the spring and autumn equinoxes. The charged particles and solar wind are directed into the atmosphere by the Earth’s magnetosphere. A geomagnetic storm expands the auroral zone to lower latitudes.

Another Time Lapse Sequence
Here’s another great time lapse sequence of photographs taken by another crew of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011, who – as far as I know – shot these pictures at an altitude of around 350 km.

An earlier edit from 2011 by Michael König

Just another great glimpse of Lighting-Inspiration and to celebrate the International Year of Light (IYL2015). Thanks for noticing this unusual but impressive blogpost. Hope you like it as much as I do!

4D printing – The Future of Design

Normally, we create things by use of 3D printing and we’re done. After the printing process is finalized, we take our parts and then we assemble them. But what if we want the parts to be able to transform and change their shape over time? If we want them to assemble themselves?

 
From 3D printing to 4D printing
The promises of 4D printing are truly amazing. Actually, 4D printing is about using a 3D printer to produce self-reconfiguring, programmable material that intelligently arranges itself into basically any object with no need for computers or electricity. Objects are not only be printed, but thanks to geometric code, they could later also change their shape and transform on their own.
 
4D printing for Lighting
This is just a first blogpost on 4D printing to discover this new dimension to 3D printing. I am curious to see how it will influence the future of the lighting industry as well, after 3D printing is finally is adopted. And how it will lead to new features for lighting development and design.
 
We’ll keep on watching the progress, I’ll keep you posted in case any crazy things happen!
 

Featured Article: “The 3D Printing Eleven – How 3D Printing Enables the Lighting Revolution”

“Benefits of 3D Printing Technologies for the Lighting Industry by Lighting-Inspiration.com”

Recently, the Lighting-Inspiration.com Blog started to feature an extensive range of articles on how the arrival of 3D printing technology will change the future of manufacturing, especially within the global lighting industry. 3D printing will impact the design, engineering, manufacturing, supply and application of lighting and enable solutions that were never able to create before. By publishing the 11-fold article, Lighting-Inspiration.com aims to take away the uncertainties and ignorance about this new way of making and how it will impact a certain discipline of a lighting companies’ business.

Join the 3D Printing Journey
Anyone working with light, from technical engineering professionals at the one hand to lighting specifiers such as lighting designers and project planners at the other hand, is encouraged to start discovering the renewed possibilities that appear with the coming of additive manufacturing. A full range of in-depth articles show step by step the various benefits for the industry and clearly explains them in more detail. The separate steps are foreseen with practical examples that will be definitely be recognized by the readers.

3DP11: The 3D Printing Eleven Benefits for Lighting
The benefits that are brought to the industry are centered around 11 different principles: “The 3D Printing Eleven“. Each of the individual bullets below contains an underlaying page where you’ll find the listed topic worked out in more detail.

  1. No Upfront Investments
  2. Greater Product Variety
  3. Complexity is Free
  4. Easy Iterations
  5. No Assembly Required
  6. Shortened Lead Times
  7. Unparalleled Design Freedom
  8. Zero Manufacturing Skills
  9. Reduced Material Waste
  10. Multi-material Applications
  11. Exact Part Replication

Time-to-time publications
From time to time, new contributions, product examples and success stories will be added to the Lighting-Inspiration.com Blog in order to fully explain on the developments that empower the rapid changing state of the industry. 3D printing is seen as a highly disruptive technology, and thanks to the ongoing digitization, and a lot of new possibilities where we even can’t dream of today are ahead the road.

Start to discover the benefits of 3D printing for your business today! Please discover more about the features of 3D printing technology for lighting professionals at the blog 3DPrinting.Lighting.

21st Century Optics Design Engineering

“A Day from the life of John” – 21st Century Optics Engineering

Optics system design and engineering is a pretty genious job. To be taken seriously, you’ll need at least a 10+ years of experience before you’re really recognized as a seasoned ‘senior’. Due to todays ongoing digitization, computers are important to most engineers, as with other fields of engineering. They are used with instruments, in optics design creations and simulations, and for many other applications. Optics designers need to extend their skills by frequent training sessions and study new developer skills.

Optical System Design Challenges
Designing optical systems isn’t an easy job. Optics engineers make use of optics to solve problems and to design and build devices that make light do something useful. It comes with real challenges on the system design itself and the engineering work. Developing new optics solutions requires them to understand and apply the science of optics in substantial detail, in order to understand what outcome is physically possible to achieve. But they also must know what is practical in terms of technologies that are available, materials to use, costs they have to count with, design methods that can be applied, etcetera. Fortunately, most of the work is well known and, if extreme projects appear, you can overcome it easily by bringing in the right skills, study, experience or hire someone from your network to help you out.

Optical Design Frustrations
More frustrating are the challenges that are outside of your own capabilities: prohibitively expensive optics design software, manufacturing tolerances, and most likely a torn in the flesh of every designer: the manufacturing tooling needed to prototype and manufacture the real end product. Expensive upfront investments in tooling, uncertainties about the outcome and tooling limitations are real bottlenecks in the freedom and flexibility of today’s optics designer.

But what if…
Tooling is no longer needed? Your minimum order quantity is as low as one piece? Cost effective trial & error and iterations could be implemented? Design freedom is (almost) unlimited? Here’s the video that I promised in my earlier post. Digital 3D printing of functional optics is just around the corner. And it’s amazingly powerful. Watch – … – recognize – …- act!

Let’s break the mold! Help making the life of Optics Designers easier, spread the word by sharing this video!

Publication: 3D printing for the Lighting Industry

Featured article: “How 3D printing will transform the Lighting Industry”

Recently, I’ve featured a more in-depth article about 3D printing for the lighting industry at my website Lighting-Inspiration.com. This publication is intended for lighting professionals in lighting design or engineering that are struggling with the adoption or usage of 3D printing for their own business, or have critical thoughts about the impact it will have on the future of manufacturing.

The article will help you to learn about the importance of additive manufacturing for light engineering and how it wil be of impact for the future of the industry. A more generous introduction is followed by a more comprehensive outline of various USP’s that makes this technolog so adorable, along with some examples of companies that are doing a great job in the field.

In specific I recommend reading this contribution to my subscribed fellows from the lighting industry, but it might be of interest to anyone that wants to discover the further backgrounds and future opportunities with this exiting manufacturing break-through!

I am at your disposal in case of any questions, don’t hesitate to talk back and to let me know your thoughts.

Happy readings!

Marco de Visser

Rapid Prototyping – The Future

Apart from the passion I have for lighting, 3D printing – also referred to as ‘additive manufacturing’ – is something that intrigues me. Apart from making the production of goods more cost and time efficient, it creates new possibilities in design and manufacturing. Possibilities that you and I never dreamt of before.

Here’s just a quick shot to help you understanding how the 3D printing revolution will change the making of things and impact the global supply chain of goods. I can really recommend you this short video to understand  how the future of rapid prototyping will look like.

By the way, I will share another exciting animation movie on the 3D printing of optics in the next couple of months. Keep watching me!

The Digitization of Plastics Fabrication (4)

“Printoptical Technology contributes to a Third Industrial Revolution”

New industrial revolution
The consequences of all these changes amount to a third industrial revolution, as randomly speculated about in many different media nowadays. The first industrial revolution of mankind took place in Great-Britain (late 18th century), starting with the mechanization of the textile industry. In the decades hereafter, the machines were started to be used to produce things, instead of crafting them by hand, with an incredible increase of efficiency. They correctly understood that we not only need to work hard any more, but more smart, to realize the potential benefits offered by mechanical technologies. The second industrial revolution on its turn found its roots in the USA, in the early 20th century. With the discovery of the assembly line whole industries entered into a new era of mass production. The age of “getting digital” nowadays would mean another significant change in how products are engineered and manufactured. The 3D printing and on-demand availability of optics significantly contributes to this ongoing development and is expected to be one of the most influential steps the industry has known in the last decades.

Conclusions
In summary, 3D printing of optics is amazingly powerful and will continue to develop into a major part of the product development process. Printoptical Technology makes significant leaps forward in technology, and brings revolutionary, not merely evolutionary, advances in the additive manufacturing of LED lighting optics. As Printoptical Technology almost daily evolve and the prices of systems decrease, it enables to experience a whole new way to develop optics and launch the lighting industry into mass customization. Numerous leading lighting companies have adopted Printoptical Technology in an innovative way, leading the charge in additive manufacturing. And this on-demand business model is spreading. Adopting digital manufacturing of optics isn’t just a good idea – it’s a necessity for any company committed to retaining (or creating) competitive advantage within the highly crowded global lighting place. It is here, and it is fixed staying. This technology is no longer considered a science fiction. Rest assured, once Printoptical Technology is experienced in-house, more applications and cost saving will be discovered. It might still be in its infancy, and there are still issues to solve and challenges to overcome, but it will drive almost all additive manufacturing of optics in the future and it must be a part of every portfolio.

This article is the last part in a range written on “Digital Optics Manufacturing”, intended to let the lighting industry and it’s insiders know about Printoptical Technology and it’s improved opportunities for the manufacturing of LED lighting optics. Thanks for reading these posts, see you soon!

Sources:
[1] Wohlers Report 2012 – Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing, State of the Industry
Annual Worldwide Progress Report – www.wohlersassociates.com
[2] The Economist – Manufacturing & Innovation, Special Report, April 2012