CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/236,693, filed Aug. 25, 2009, which is incorporated herein by this reference in its entirety.
Embodiments of the present invention relate to optical light shielding.
In the lighting industry, it is desirable that light fixtures emit and direct light in only desired areas. Preventing unwanted light glare or light trespass into unwanted areas is desirable. One method for preventing light from entering certain areas is referred to as light shielding. Light shielding is found in many traditional lighting applications, such as High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, in which a barrier or shield is positioned between the light source and the area in which light is not desired. This same conventional method may be used with light emitting diodes (LEDs). For example, LEDs 10 may have barriers 20 placed adjacent lenses 30, as shown in FIG. 1. The barriers 20 prevent light from reaching areas not desired to be illuminated. However, as shown in FIG. 1, the barrier is a separate component from the lens and LED which can lead to increased construction costs and installation time. Therefore, there is a need for alternative configurations to achieve this same result.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Certain embodiments of the present invention provide light shields integral with the optics.
FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a prior art LED and shield configuration.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a lighting assembly using optic shielding according to one embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 2A is a top view of a lighting assembly using optic shielding according to the embodiment of FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a lighting assembly using optic shielding according to another embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a lighting assembly using optic shielding according to another embodiment of this invention.
Certain embodiments of the present invention provide a combination of shielding within the optics of a light source. The shielding may be integrated and formed within the optics used to direct the light source. The shielding may block the light, or redirect the light into an area in which light is desired.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A, the lighting assembly 100 includes a light source such as an LED 110 positioned within a lens 120. While LEDs are used in the illustrated embodiments described herein, other sources of light are contemplated. In yet other embodiments, the lighting assembly 100 can include a plurality of LEDs 110.
The configuration of the lens 120 may vary depending on the desired optical properties. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the lens 120 includes a light transmissive portion 125 and a shield 130 formed of an opaque paint or other material that is positioned along a portion of the surface area of the lens 120. The lens 120 could be made out of glass, a thermoplastic material such as acrylic, polycarbonate or combinations thereof, or any other optically clear material.
The shield 130 blocks transmission of the light produced by the LED 110, preventing the light 140 from exiting the lens 120 in the area provided with shield 130. The shield 130 may be made of any opaque material that does not allow light 140 to transmit through it. Suitable opaque materials include, but are not limited to, dark paint, silicone, and epoxy. The opaque material forming the shield 130 may be painted or applied to the outer or inner surface of the lens 120. In one application method, the light transmissive portion 125 of the lens 120 is masked so that only the desired shape and size of the shield 130 is exposed. The opaque material is then applied to the lens 120 so that the material adheres only to the exposed portion of the lens 120 intended to form the shield 130. With respect to all of the embodiments disclosed herein, one of skill in the art will understand that the shape, size, and positioning of the shield 130, 230, 330 on the lens 120, 220, 320 may be tailored to suit particular applications and by no means is limited to the embodiments disclosed herein.
Similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 2A, the lighting assembly 200 illustrated in FIG. 3 allows transmission of light generated by at least one light source such as an LED 210 through a light transmissive portion 225 of a lens 220, and further includes a shield 230 that prevents transmission of light 240 emitted from the at least one LED 210 through the lens 220 in the shielded areas. However, the shield 230 is formed of a reflective material that reflects that same light 240 in a desired direction. The shield 230 may be formed on the outer or inner surface of the lens 220. In one embodiment, a polymeric material is applied to the outer surface of the lens 220 and a metallic finish applied (such as via a vacuum metalizing process) to impart reflectivity. In other embodiments, a reflective paint is used to form the reflective shield 230. Exemplary paints include those sold under the tradenames GL-22, GL-80 and GL-30, all available from DuPont. In yet other embodiments, a reflective liner (not illustrated), such as Optilon™ available from DuPont, may be applied to the lens 220 to form the shield 230.
The lighting assembly 300 of FIG. 4 operates in much the same fashion as that in FIG. 3, with a lens 320 having a light transmissive portion 325 and a shield 330, but is formed of a co-molding process to form the shield 330 integral with the lens 320. A first thermoplastic material such as polycarbonate is introduced into a mold to form the light transmissive portion 325 of the lens 320, and a second material, preferably a highly reflective plastic or other material such as opaque polycarbonate, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (abs), nylon other polymeric material, is introduced into the mold to form the non-light transmissive portion or reflective shield 330. The shield 330 blocks light 340 emitted by the at least one LED 310 in the one direction and, if reflective, redirects the light 340 in another direction.
The foregoing is provided for purposes of illustrating, explaining, and describing embodiments of the present invention. Further modifications and adaptations to these embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.