“A detailed look at the Spectrum of Infinite Possibilities”
An interview with Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors, during electronica 2016
Regensburg, November 2016
Mr Kamper, this year your slogan for electronica is the “Spectrum of infinite possibilities”. What’s the thinking behind this?
Aldo Kamper: Well, at first sight some people may think artificial light is perhaps trivial. But on closer inspection they will discover an almost infinite spectrum of possibilities that semiconductor light sources have to offer us. In fact, there is virtually no aspect of modern living in which light does not play a role – in greenhouses where modern LED light is used to grow healthy tomatoes and cucumbers, on our streets where highly efficient long-life LEDs help children get safely to school on dark mornings, and in our cars where backlit dashboards provide us with information about our speed and our route.
This year your booth has three separate sections: illumination, visualization and sensing. Why have you chosen this split?
Aldo Kamper: As I said, light sources are being used in almost every facet of our lives. For the fair we are focusing on three areas that are very important for us. In the Illumination section you will soon appreciate the immense importance of lighting for human beings. Light has the capacity to change spaces, enhance the effects of colors and not least influence our well-being. For example, we feel safer in a well-lit underground car park, are more alert and active in artificial light that simulates natural daylight and are put in a pleasant relaxed mood by warm light in our homes.
The second section, Visualization, deals primarily with the presentation of information. We are living in an age of information, supplied with news round the clock, everywhere we go and through various media including projections, head-up displays and video walls. And our light emitting diodes can be found in all these applications. They enable the information to be presented in formats compatible with our current lifestyles – in full color, high resolution, virtual or real.
The third and last section, Sensing, is particularly exciting right now. It includes light sources and sensors that look after us when we are driving, make smartphones smart, open elevator doors for us or let us look into new virtual reality worlds.
It all sounds very exciting. Out of all the three sections is there one highlight that stands out for you at the fair?
Aldo Kamper: Hmm ... (ponders). That’s a difficult question. After all, what makes the spectrum of unlimited possibilities fascinating is the very fact that there is so much variety. Not just in terms of technology but also in subsequent applications. Obviously I am a big fan of consumer applications, for example whenever personal electronic devices use our opto semiconductors. Without these semiconductors biomonitoring, virtual reality, augmented reality and gesture recognition would not be possible. Who isn’t excited by these new applications? These innovations open up entirely new worlds. There are lots of exciting things to look forward to in the future and I am proud that we will be a part of this future. Less chic and glamorous but just as fascinating, to my mind, are the industrial applications such as pumping solid state lasers. Anyone who has ever seen an automated industrial laser in action, such as those used for high-precision welding on car bodies, will know what I mean. It is absolutely mesmerizing what a laser diode can do.
With such a huge bandwidth it is probably difficult to say which technical achievement will stand out from all the others this year.
Aldo Kamper: Correct. We are heavily involved in further development work, right left and center – in chip design, in package design and also in production technologies – and we can envisage many innovations.
Can you perhaps give us a couple of examples?
Aldo Kamper: Yes, certainly. Only a few weeks ago we celebrated the successful completion of the µAFS project. Together with our project partners, Infineon and the Fraunhofer Institute, we succeeded in developing a world first: an LED chip that has not one but 1,024 light points. That’s something that was previously impossible. It’s an absolute sensation. This unprecedented invention will enable headlights to be on permanent high beam without dazzling other road users. That will make the roads safer for all of us.
We have also managed to solve a problem that has beset museums and retail outlets in particular. Imagine you have just fitted twenty identical LED spotlights in twenty identical luminaires and when you switch them all on they each look slightly different. One may be brighter than the rest, one may have a slightly green tinge, and another may appear a bit yellow. You may not be able to measure the differences, but you can see them. Scientists have long known that the standard measurements used in the lighting industry do not correspond to the way the human eye perceives light. However this knowledge has never been applied to general lighting. We are the first company to have changed all that and applied “TEN° binning” to LEDs to avoid this effect.
If we look around the fair we can see that some of your competitors are here too, of course. What makes your company different from the rest? What in particular makes you stand out?
Aldo Kamper: What makes Osram Opto Semiconductors special? The most obvious things are our many years of experience, the level of our ongoing investment and our single-minded focus on implementing ideas and strategies. We are in an excellent position in terms of technology and have superb relationships with our customers. But for me perhaps the most significant factor, and one that unfortunately is overlooked in economic analyses, is that the employees in this company work with passion and a spirit of innovation to contribute to our success. And they do that day in, day out. We perhaps have a bit more of that than our competitors, and that makes me very proud.
Thank you for your time.