Looking for healthier lighting? This natural-spectrum LED has been scientifically proven to increase visual comfort, daytime alertness

by Brianna Crandall — May 29, 2019 — Seoul Semiconductor, a global innovator of LED products and technology, announced that its SunLike Series natural spectrum light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been identified as a key light source for promoting human well-being, based on the results of a recent comprehensive sleep study conducted by scientists at the University of Basel.

The South Korea-based company developed SunLike Series natural spectrum LEDs in collaboration with Toshiba Materials’ TRI-R spectrum technology in 2017 as the first LED light source to closely match the spectrum of natural sunlight. The two companies have since promoted this natural sunlight spectrum technology through its favorable effects on human well-being and sleep as a key value in the evolution of lighting.

Test results graph for Seoul Semiconductor's SunLike Series natural spectrum LEDs

Test results for Seoul Semiconductor’s SunLike Series natural spectrum LEDs (Graphic: Business Wire) Click image to enlarge

Seoul Semiconductor points out that there has been an increase in research activity on the relationship between light and human bio-function, including a recent scientific study focusing on the effects of light spectrum on sleep quality, visual comfort, well-being and daytime alertness conducted by Prof. Christian Cajochen and his team at the University of Basel in Switzerland, entitled: “Effect of Daylight LED on Visual Comfort, Melatonin, Mood, Waking Performance, and Sleep,” published in the Journal of Lighting and Research Technology published on March 24, 2019.

It is well established that light is one of the strongest control factors for human circadian rhythms, such as the secretion of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, notes the company. Thus, optimal lighting conditions during daytime are crucial to prevent circadian-rhythm disturbances that can lead to sleep disorders and other life-style related diseases. Over the past ten years, there have been related scientific studies in the fields of sleep, chronobiology and physiology, as well as the impact of light quality in the care of the elderly.

According to Prof. Cajochen’s research, LED light sources with the same measured correlated color temperature (CCT) and intensity, but different spectral output, can have different effects on human behavior and physiology. LED light sources with a spectrum close to natural sunlight produced better visual comfort, more alertness, and happier moods in the morning and evening among the test participants, compared to those exposed to conventional spectrum LEDs. The research tested subjects’ visual comfort, circadian physiology, daytime alertness, mood, cognitive performance, and sleep after being exposed to both conventional LED light and natural spectrum LED light for 49 hours in a laboratory setting.

Quoting from the paper: “We have evidence that a daylight [natural spectrum] LED solution has beneficial effects on visual comfort, daytime alertness, mood, and sleep intensity in healthy volunteers. Delta EEG activity (0.75–4.5Hz) was significantly higher after daylight-LED than conventional-LED exposure during the post-light exposure night.” [NOTE: Delta EEG (electroencephalogram) measurements record delta waves, the brain waves associated with Stage 3 non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep,“slow-wave sleep” (SWS), and aid in characterizing the depth of sleep.]

By providing the same spectrum as sunlight and in the visible light range, SunLike Series natural spectrum LEDs deliver benefits for human well-being, consistent with the mechanisms of vision that impact both image-forming and non-image-forming aspects of the eye, as well as the control of circadian rhythms. While the qualities of artificial light have been described primarily with color and intensity thus far, SunLike Series natural-spectrum LEDs have introduced light spectrum as another important factor in determining overall light quality.

Nam Ki-bum, executive vice president of Sales for Seoul Semiconductor, stated:

This research conducted by the University of Basel suggests another important aspect to the evolving direction of artificial light over the past eighty years. In addition to the properties of energy efficiency and long life, we have added the factor of “human well-being” to modern LED light sources. As the world’s first mass-produced LED devices to achieve natural sunlight quality, SunLike Series LEDs are advancing lighting technology in this important area as we continue to respond to market needs from our customers’ lighting applications.

For more information about SunLike Series natural-spectrum LEDs, visit the Seoul Semiconductor website. The company develops and commercializes LEDs for automotive, general illumination, specialty lighting and backlighting markets.