Intematix: Using Phosphor to Revolutionize LEDs

We’ll excuse you if you don’t know the ins and outs of how phosphors works with LEDs. I certainly didn’t, until I chatted with Intematix CEO Mark Swoboda, earlier this month. But on Tuesday morning,┬áIntematix has an announcement it says will revolutionize the way LEDs use phosphor: The company is launching a product called ChromaLit, which uses a new design for a phosphor light source for LED makers.

As Swoboda explained it to me, Intematix has developed an LED product that layers phosphor onto a material that separates it from the blue LED energy source, so LEDs made with ChromaLit have their blue light and white light separated. In most traditional LEDs, blue chips are actually coated with the phosphor compound. The result of ChromaLit, according to Intematix, is that LED makers can have more flexibility with lighting quality, and color, and can make LEDs that are both more efficient and have a lower cost.

“Rarely do LED makers talk about improvements in the phosphor performance,” says Swoboda. They’ve only focused on the chip performance, which is why he thinks the product will be so interesting to the LED manufacturers.

Well, that’s the pitch anyway. Eleven-year-old Intematix will be selling ChromaLit to LED makers, but didn’t announce any major customers at launch time. The proof in how revolutionary the product is will lie in how many LED maker customers Intematix signs up.

Intematix was formed over a decade ago to work on something called “combinatorial synthesis, which is a process of doing accelerated materials discovery and development,” explained Swoboda to me. But, yeah, as you can expect, that’s a rather broad process, and revenues are in successful niche applications. It wasn’t until 2005 that Intematix focused on phosphors and solid-state lighting.

Over the decade, the company has raised several rounds of VC financing, though Swoboda declined to name how much, from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Crosslink Capital. Swoboda tells me that Intematix is also looking to raise a “pre-IPO” or mezzanine round in the first quarter of 2011, which could help the company’s potential IPO at a later date.

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