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Ephesus unveils new LED chip

By Journal Staff


SYRACUSE — Ephesus Technologies, LLC is rolling out its own, proprietary LED chip, which it says could help the firm create more than 1,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Ephesus developed the chip in partnership with Group4 Labs of Fremont, Calif. Group4 works in New York from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence in Canandaigua.

The chip will rival the best and most efficient LEDs on the market today, according to Ephesus. The company plans to establish a production facility in Central New York for the chips and is looking at a number of sites now, Ephesus President Joe Casper says.

LED chips power LED lighting fixtures, which Ephesus also produces. The company’s fixtures are used in applications including warehouses, manufacturing facilities, parking lots and garages, roadways, stadiums, tunnels, and bridges.

Ephesus expects to use the new chips in its own lighting fixtures, also produced in upstate New York, Casper says. The move will give the company control of its own supply chain.

It currently uses third-party chips for its lights, Casper says. Using its own chips will allow Ephesus to control costs, design new fixtures quickly, and remain flexible.

In the long run, the company is aiming to be supplier to other companies producing LED lights, including industry giants like GE and Sylvania, Casper says.

The Ephesus chip incorporates a diamond-based material that is Group4’s specialty. In any LED light, a primary aim is to keep the chip as cool as possible, explains Joseph Smart, vice president and general manager for Group4 in New York.

Cooler chips mean better efficiency and a longer lifespan, he says. Diamond, Smart says, has incredible heat-diffusing properties so incorporating the material into the chip yields impressive results.

The Ephesus chip also allows for more brightness, according to the company.

Casper says Ephesus can produce prototype volumes of its chip at the Center of Excellence in Canandaigua and with university partners. Establishing a full-scale production facility will require about $5 million, which the company hopes to raise from the state and private investors.

Ephesus received a $50,000 grant earlier this year from the Syracuse Center of Excellence Commercialization Assistance Program and also has secured $1 million in tax incentives through Empire State Development.

Ephesus currently employs 16 people at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. The firm plans to relocate its headquarters, engineering staff, and fixture production later this year to a 10,000-square-foot space in the Radisson section of the town of Lysander.

Ephesus’ expansion efforts were among the projects submitted to the state as part of Central New York’s regional economic- development plan in 2011. But the company was not among those chosen for funding as part of the process, which involved a competition among 10 regions around the state for a limited pool of aid.

Ephesus Technologies launched in 2009 in Syracuse University’s CASE Center with two employees. Casper and his wife, Amy Casper, who is CEO and chairwoman, co-own the company.

The overall market for LED chips potentially totals in the billions of dollars, according to Ephesus. The company says its chip is expected to lower the cost of its own fixtures by 30 percent.                      


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