CSEM is a private Swiss research and technology organization specialized in micro- and nanotechnology, system engineering, photovoltaics and communications technologies. CSEM's mission is to deliver advanced technologies and unique R&D services to industry in a wide range of fields. As part of these activities, CSEM develops customized solutions for photonics and provides key components, subsystems, and systems that exploit every possible aspect of the light spectrum and its unique properties.

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A new ray of light for architectural design

CSEM and Regent Lighting have developed an ultra-thin, flexible, microstructured light diffuser which uses 90% less material than conventional designs.


Light plays a major role in our human biological responses and can even affect our emotions. The right lighting conditions can boost our health, mood, motivation, and productivity, so for architects and designers alike, striking the right lighting cord in the workplace is crucial. Increasing the amount of natural light is key, and nowadays this is achieved with soft and uniform artificial lighting.

Swiss lighting experts Regent and CSEM have teamed up to develop a new kind of light diffuser, called RUN+. Designed for the workplace, this seamless, rollable diffuser integrates a thin, ultra-flat microstructured control foil that provides glare-free illumination. It complies with all workplace lighting standards while guaranteeing unlimited flexibility in lighting design.

RUN+ conceals several innovations, which serve to maximize its minimalist and elegant aesthetic. Unlike existing diffusers that are stiff, bulky, and heavy, it takes the form of a flexible roll, resulting in material savings of 90%. It can be produced to create a strip of light up to 24 meters long. These smooth and jointless lines emit a single and uniform band of light that can be adapted to even the most complex 3D structures. Additionally, the flexibility of the diffuser means they can be rolled up for easy transportation, which is of great benefit to electricians and installers.

The RUN+ transparent diffuser element includes a polymer film developed jointly with CSEM. This film is an optical, multi-layer, ultra-thin sheet of microstructures that can control how light is diffused and directed. Up to now, large optical components were used to re-direct the light according to the needs. Common examples include big, faceted reflectors, bulky volumetric diffusers, and thick de-glaring plates. A drawback of these solutions is that they cannot be manufactured in large volumes at a competitive cost. Microstructured surfaces, on the other hand, have the potential to achieve the same or better performance than macroscopic components with numerous other advantages.

Launched in March 2020, RUN+ is the first in a long line of innovations that can benefit from microtechnology. Even though the use of light management optical microstructures is still in its infancy, design algorithms and manufacturing technologies are rapidly evolving. This will open new doors to optical engineers, lighting designers, and product developers, allowing them to reach further than ever before and turn their design ideas into innovative products.

23 JANUARY 2022