Learn the science behind LED lighting. This article examines LED lighting and explains why LED offers some important advantages in lighting, resulting in LED lighting being used in more and more applications.
Many Applications for LED Lighting
LED lights are found on many familiar electronic devices, mostly as tiny, colorful, bright indicator lights. LED lights are also used on vehicle taillights, in traffic signals, and is even beginning to be used as illumination in households, such as stairways and swimming pools.
LED lights do not produce light by heating a filament nor by creating a spark between two electrodes. Diodes are tiny electronic components made from two semiconductor materials.
One material has atoms with an excess of electrons. The other material has a deficit of electrons (called “holes”). The contact patch between the two materials is called a “junction.” With a sufficient voltage, the excess electrons cross the junction to fill the holes on the other side. As the atoms electrons fall into the holes, they give off very precise quantities of energy in the form of a photon (light).
Emit Precise Color
The amount of energy in the photon dictates the photon’s frequency, and the frequency corresponds to a particular color. Thus, LEDs emit a precise color (they are “monochromatic”). Most other light sources have numerous frequencies combined together. Not so for LEDs. If the end result that you are seeking is a specific color (other than pure white), then LEDs are highly efficient.
LEDs are known for producing very little heat, but that perception needs to be balanced by the fact that LEDs produce very little light. If you want a lot of light out of a small package and pack numerous LEDs into close
LEDs offer some important advantages. Being electronic components, the LEDs themselves are immune to vibration. Assuming that the LED’s circuit is properly protected from dirt and moisture, LEDs will last hundreds of thousands of hours. That is an extremely long life for a light source.
Protecting the circuit and assuring a durable connection to the power source, however, are not trivial matters. Notice how many cars you have pulled up behind that have LED taillights with some of the LEDs not working.
Long Life Span
Some newer LEDs have sought to increase the light output by intentionally running the LED at an excessive voltage, which decreases their life. On the one hand, this is a smart compromise. The LED’s life is so very long to begin with that decreasing that life even 100 fold still leaves you a long-life light source. A more...