Today’s lighting technology is steadily becoming more energy efficient and less toxic to the environment since the passing of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) [1]. EISA has mandated a higher energy efficiency standard for lighting products and the phase out of the common incandescent lamp. This has led lighting manufacturers to pursue solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies for consumer lighting applications. However, two major roadblocks are hindering the transition process to SSL lamps: cost and quality. In order to cut cost, manufactures are moving towards cheaper packaging materials and a variety of package architecture construction techniques which may potentially erode the quality of the lamp and reduce its survivability in everyday applications. Typically, SSL lamps are given product lifetimes of over twenty years based off of the IES TM-21-11 lighting standard which does not include moisture effects or large operational temperatures [2]. A group of recently released off-the-shelf lamps have undergone a steady-state temperature humidity bias life test of 85°C/85%RH (85/85) to investigate the reliability in harsh environment applications.

The lack of accelerated test methods for lamps to assess reliability prior to introduction into the marketplace does not exist in literature. There is a need for SSL physics based models for the assessment and prediction of a lamp’s lifetime which is being spearheaded by the DOE [3]. In order to be fully accepted in the marketplace, SSL lamps must be able to perform similarly to incandescent lamps in these environments, as well as live up to the lifetime claims of manufacturers.

A lamp’s package architecture must be designed with performance factors in mind, as well as address some of the known and published package related failure mechanisms, such as carbonization of the encapsulant material, delamination, encapsulant yellowing, lens cracking, and phosphor thermal quenching [4]. Each failure mechanism produces the similar failure mode of lumen degradation predominately due to two contributing factors: high junction temperature and moisture ingress. The current state-of-the-art has focused on individual areas of the lamp, such as the LED chip, substrate material, electrical driver design and thermal management techniques. [5] – [16] Looking at the lamp as a whole is a novel approach and has not been seen before in literature.

This work followed the JEDEC standard JESD22-A101C of 85/85 with a one hour interval of applied voltage followed by a one hour interval of no applied voltage [17]. This test was performed continuously for each SSL lamp until it became nonoperational, i.e. did not turn on. Periodically, photometric measurements were taken following the IES LM-79-08 standard at room temperature using an integrating sphere, a spectrometer, and lighting software. The overall health of the SSL lamps was assed using the relative luminous flux (RLF), correlated color temperature (CCT) and the color difference (Δu′v′) using the Euclidean distance of the CIE 1976 color space coordinates. Finally, a Weibull analysis was completed to compare the characteristic lifetime of the SSL lamp to the actual rated lifetime. An important result from this work shows that the rated lifetime does not come close to the actual lifetime when the SSL lamps are used in a harsh humid environment which is fairly common in outdoor applications across the U.S. Also, the photometric results are presented for the entire lifetime of each SSL lamp under test.

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