Global Lighting Technologies (GLT), Inc. has introduced a new, thinner, LED-based backlight for use with desktop or notebook PC keyboards that provides excellent brightness and uniformity, along with the opportunity to utilize fewer LEDs, reducing the cost of the backlight.

The backlight design utilizes the company’s patented MicroLens™ light extraction technology and optical engineering expertise to extract more light from the backlight through to the keyboard, increasing brightness while spreading the light more uniformly.

“This is an ideal backlight design for keyboards used by gamers, and it’s low-cost makes it an appealing option for mainstream keyboard designers,” said David DeAgazio, GLT’s Director of Sales Worldwide. “It can be easily customized to OEM requirements, allowing them to really distinguish their products in the marketplace.”

The backlight design employs side-firing LEDs that focus their light into a high-performance light guide.

and, in some cases, use diversion features that are molded directly into the light guide to “bend” a portion of the light around a potential thru-hole, resulting in a very uniform backlight that gets more collimated light from the light guide through to the keyboard. LEDs can be located on the edge of the light guide, or in some cases, in the middle of the backlight, depending-upon the surrounding geometry. The backlight can be thinner and provide a brighter, crisper and more uniform light, which may require fewer LEDs. This reduces the high cost, thickness, and power consumption associated with other backlighting methods such as screen-printed light guides or direct LED lighting.

“MicroLens™ provides superior control over output and uniformity, resulting in a brighter, more uniform backlight in a thinner form factor with fewer LEDs,” said DeAgazio. “Custom designs are easily scalable to different sizes."

Typical backlight thicknesses that can be provided for desktop keyboards are in the 0.6mm-0.8mm range. For laptop keyboards, even thinner backlights in the range of 0.3-0.4mm can be realized.
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