Brighter Screens, Better Planet

Luminus Screens, from your massive HDTV to your iPhone, are increasingly filling our lives with an omnipresent glow. There’s new technology in the pipeline that’s not only helping screens get better and brighter but more energy efficient. And venture capitalists are throwing lots of money into this smart lighting tech.

This morning LED maker Luminus said it has raised a whopping $72 million for its PhlatLight LED products, which are primarily used for flat-panel displays, while Dutch display maker Liquavista said it has raised €8 million (or $12.6 million) in a Series B round. The company claims its bright displays, found in portable electronics, use a fraction of the energy that LCDs use.

Screens, whether in our living rooms, our back pockets or our office cubicles, are becoming an increasingly large part of our daily lives. But at the same time, consumers and companies are becoming more concerned over power consumption and the energy efficiency of our electronics. Not just to reduce carbon emissions and fight global warming, but also to cut our energy bills and increase the battery life of our mobile gadgets.

Billerica, Mass.-based Luminus was spun out of research at MIT, and the six-year-old company has developed technology that uses a photonic lattice — a mesh of sub-wavelength microstructures — to control the direction of light, which it says makes the displays very bright while remaining energy efficient. The company has over a hundred employees and a manufacturing plant in Woburn, Mass.

The huge round of funding came from Braemar Energy Ventures, CMEA Ventures and Paladin Capital Group in addition to Luminus’ previous investors. While Luminus has mostly focused on the display market, this funding will help the company enter the general LED lighting market, where they would compete with electronic giants like Philips and GE.

Liquavista, on the other hand, is solely focused on the display market. The two-year-old company has developed technology based on research conducted at Philip Research Labs that uses electro-wetting technology (manipulating liquids on surfaces) to offer bright, energy-efficient displays.
lattice

Liquavista’s funding came from Amadeus Capital Partners, GIMV and New Venture Partners LLC. The company, which is also backed by Dutch Philips, hopes to get its product, which could be used on cell phones, MP3 players and notebooks, to market sometime this year.

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