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John O | January 2015

Lighting the Way for a Cool Super Bowl XLIX

the laws of thermodynamics effect our world and that world includes super bowl xlix. one of the main areas that it does so is in lighting. this super bowl between the new england patriots and the seattle seahawks will be played under led lights, the first time in super bowl history this has happened. check these facts from an article in gizmodo:

the university of phoenix stadium, where the big game is being played, recently upgraded over 780 metal halide fixtures with 44,928 cree xlamp mk-r leds, courtesy of cree and ephesus lighting. and while it sounds like the new setup would draw far more power, it turns out those led fixtures need a mere 310,000 watts of power to glow, compared to the 1.24 million watts required by the metal halide bulbs.

while the energy saving is clear, one of the lesser considered facts is the thermal management of these led stadium lights. led's get hot. not hot to the touch but hot at the junction temperature level. the led lighting in the university of phoenix stadium, from ephesus lighting, is an led fixture or solution. that solution has led's in it and a big heat sink on the back. the led's themselves are actually semiconductors - light emitting diodes. almost all semiconductors need their junction temperature managed in order to operate at the optimal level, and led are no different. in fact, the heat generated by an led affects the control of an led’s response, its color, and its lifetime. and those lights need to be perfect so that on game day, everyone on the field is able to see what they are doing to play their best. 

superbowl and led lighting junction temperature


cooling option for led lights of the kind that are used in stadiums vary, but can include

  • cast heat sinks
  • pin fin heat sinks
  • extruded heat sinks
  • crimped fin heat sinks

there's been a good deal of material written over the past two years on cooling led lighting so rather than reinvent the wheel, we'll recommend some of them here for your further reading at 1/2 time.

dr. kaveh azar, ph.d., in an article in design world, explains the basic issue of junction temperature relative to led cooling, his article is here:  "lighting the way for led development".

we've done a quick summary of article on coolingzone regarding products and technologies for cooling led. by clicking the following link, you'll reach a google results page with links to coolingzone.com for products all in the led lighting space: led lighting cooling information on coolingzone.

finally, we've included this video from ephesus lighting on the story behind the university of phoenix stadium installation of led lighting for the super bowl.


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