High CRI Lighting for Improved Ergonomics and Wellbeing

On October 2, 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to a team studying the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms. The laureates discovered how light synchronizes the biological clock in various species. Due in part to work like this, artificial lighting has been increasingly recognized as a significant factor in our health and lives. By affecting our biological clock, the lighting where we work and live can impact not only our mood but our well-being.

The most natural lighting for humans is the sunlight our bodies evolved with. When you see ‘Color Rendering Index’ (CRI) listed on lighting products, this is the metric for how closely the light produced by that fixture approximates sunlight. The CRI refers to the light source’s emitted spectrum, it does not indicate the apparent color of the light source; that information is typically identified by the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). Because they closely approximate the sun’s visible light spectrum, high CRI light sources are desirable in color-critical applications such as neonatal care, art restoration, photography, videography, museum displays and other situations where accurately reproducing sunlight is important. In everyday life, the CRI of an indoor light affects how people look under the light since skin tones are especially sensitive to the quality of lighting. Beyond obvious aesthetic benefits, researchers are discovering the broad effects of light on all aspects of our lives.

A study of the impact of office lighting on the performance of employees was recently conducted by American Society of Interior Design. The consulting group Andrew Jensen highlighted the implications for business performance in a recent article:

“The Drawbacks of Artificial Lighting

The first culprit, dim lights, can be detrimental to productivity for several reasons. First, dim lighting can cause eye strain and headaches, because, when lighting is inadequate, the eyes are forced to work much harder in order to see. Dim lighting can also result in drowsiness and lack of focus, which would obviously have a negative impact on employee motivation. The second culprit, harsh lighting, is much more common than dim lighting and is just as harmful. Fluorescent lighting, especially, has a number of negative effects on employees, as it has been known to cause eye strain, and it is also cited as a trigger for migraine headaches. This harsh lighting also makes it more difficult for the eye to focus, so alternatives should be sought whenever possible.”

Different types of lighting emit spectra with a range of CRI values. Here are some common average CRI values for different lighting technologies:

Light Polymers’ Crystallin product line achieves the highest CRI metrics by introducing a new generation of photonic down-conversion films.  Down-conversion works by using high-frequency blue LEDs as the initial light source and then converting the light into a target spectrum. Light Polymers uses proprietary lyotropic materials to achieve dense, high-efficiency conversion films that are very stable, and the spectra emitted will not degrade over time as quickly as seen with other types of lighting. Light Polymers’ proprietary lyotropic chemistry lowers manufacturing costs by speeding up the process and eliminating the use of any surfactants or toxic chemicals. The unique material formulations in Crystallin films enable control of the refractive index of the material, allowing precise light-spectrum tuning, higher down-conversion efficiency, and less waste heat.

Light Polymers is now delivering cutting-edge products to the lighting industry from home and office lighting to professional horticultural lighting products. Light Polymers provides innovative products for home, office and specialty lighting with Crystallin photonic films, including both Crystallin consumer lighting and GrowBlade™ professional horticultural lights. Our manufacturing process is easy to scale, leading to substantial economic efficiencies in manufacturing, enabling a breakthrough MSRP of under $20.00 US for our initial offering of indoor downlight fixtures. Energy efficient products like GrowBlade and Crystallin Downlights are poised to be significant market players by making ergonomic high-CRI lighting affordable for everyone. Check out our Crystallin Downlight and Crystallin GrowBlade pages for more information!