Thursday, September 17, 2009

LED Tech & The LIFI Source

Written By: Carl Spaulding

Mr. Rick Slaugh posed a question on our Face Book discussion forum and I’d like to open the conversation to a broader audience. Please comment and let us know your thoughts.

Rick Slaugh (York, PA) wrote:

How about lamp technology? Are you seeing any shift towards LED technology in your industry?

Carl Spaulding (Queensbury, NY) Wrote:

We are definitively seeing a move toward LED sources. With RGB and RGBA color mixing and quickly improving output these fixtures are providing a new tool in the art of lighting. The troubling part is the shortcomings of LEDs as a light source in entertainment venues. Sure LEDs are more efficient (lumens/watt) than traditional Tungsten/Halogen sources but total lumen output still has yet to catch up. Also, LED fixtures are primarily used for wash lighting since a point-source LED isn't capable of producing enough lumens for use in a traditional profile fixture. Undoubtedly manufacturers are tackling new forms of profile-type fixtures than can employ LEDs.

On a different but related note, the LIFI plasma source by Luxim produces more lumens/watt than an LED and is essentially a point source making it useful in profile fixtures. While it isn't an RGB source (so it doesn't natively provide color mixing options), the efficiency alone makes it a viable alternative. The trade-off is limited dimming capability. Unlike other discharge sources, it can be dimmed using a standard dimmer but the bottom of the curve cuts off at 20%. This hard cut doesn’t provide the kind of dimming curve we prefer in theatrical applications. The current solution has been to simply integrate some form of mechanical dimming into the fixture.

LIFI "How It Works" Flash Animation from Luxim Corporation:

Links to further reading on the LIFI source:

Church Production – August 2009

Robe Lighting – Robin 300 Plasma Spot

OceanOptics – SeaChanger Nemo

Thanks as always - Carl 09-17-2009


  1. Is the LIFI lamp a "true white" lamp? Does it produce the full visible spectrum? That has been the shortfall of LED fixtures/lamps I've seen so far.

  2. With a CRI of 94 and a color temperature of 5300°K the LIFI produces a very crisp full spectrum white light. A link to the complete specification sheet for the LIFI-ENT-31-02 source can be viewed at This is the version of the LIFI being integrated into entertainment industry products. The spectral power distribution graph on page two shows the very broad spectrum of visible light produced by the LIFI source.