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How Light Emitting Diodes

Light emitting diodes, commonly called LEDs, are real unsung heroes in
the electronics world. They do dozens of different jobs and are found in all
kinds of devices. Among other things, they form numbers on digital clocks,
transmit information from remote controls, light up watches and tell you
when your appliances are turned on. Collected together, they can form
images on a jumbo television screen or illuminate a traffic light.

Basically, LEDs are just tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electrical
circuit. But unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don't have a filament
that will burn out, and they don't get especially hot. They are illuminated
solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and they
last just as long as a standard transistor. The lifespan of an LED surpasses
the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. Tiny LEDs are
already replacing the tubes that light up LCD HDTVs to make dramatically
thinner televisions.
The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today's most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting
technologies. Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light
quality than other types of lighting. Check out the top 8 things you didn't know about LEDs to learn
LED is a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the
future of lighting in the United States. Residential LEDs -- especially ENERGY STAR rated products --
use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States.
By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity:
This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each),
and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today's electricity prices.

Learn more about how energy-efficient lightbulbs compare with traditional incandescents.
LED lighting is very different from other lighting sources such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs. Key
differences include the following:

Light Source: LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs is
typically used to make white light.
Direction: LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers
that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many uses such as recessed
downlights and task lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired
direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture.
Heat: LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy
as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.
LED lighting is currently available in a wide variety of home and industrial products, and the list is growing
every year. The rapid development of LED technology leads to more products and improved
manufacturing efficiency, which also results in lower prices. Below are some of the most common types of
LED products.
The high efficiency and directional nature of LEDs makes them ideal for many industrial uses. LEDs are
increasingly common in street lights, parking garage lighting, walkway and other outdoor area lighting,
refrigerated case lighting, modular lighting, and task lighting.


Because LEDs are small and directional, they are ideal for lighting countertops for cooking and reading
recipes. The color can appear more cool or blue than is typically desirable in a kitchen, and there can be
some excessive shadowing in some fixtures, so it is important to compare products to find the best fixture
for your space.


Recessed downlights are commonly used in residential kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms, and in a
number of office and commercial settings. DOE estimates there are at least 500 million recessed
downlights installed in U.S. homes, and more than 20 million are sold each year. Both CFL and LED
technology can decrease downlight wattage by 75% or more. See the Solid-State Lighting website for
a quality comparison of incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs in downlights .
With performance improvements and dropping prices, LED lamps can replace 40, 60, and even 75 Watt
incandescent bulbs. It's important to read the Lighting Facts Label to make sure the product is the right
brightness and color for the intended location. When chosen carefully, LED replacement products can be
an excellent option. See the Solid-State Lighting website for information about general service LED

LEDs consume far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and decorative LED light strings such as
Christmas tree lights are no different. Not only do LED holiday lights consume less electricity, they also
have the following advantages:

Safer: LEDs are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt
Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.
Longer lasting: The same LED string could still be in use 40 holiday seasons from now.
Easier to install: Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a
wall socket.

They're tiny and relatively inexpensive.

They're easy to control electronically.

They last virtually forever. That makes them brilliant for traffic signals.

They make light electronically without getting hot and that means they
save lots of energy.
Basic advantages of LED Light
1. Energy efficient - LEDs are now capable of outputting 135 lumens/watt
2. Long Lifetime - 50,000 hours or more if properly engineered
3. Rugged - LEDs are also called Solid State Lighting (SSL) as they are made of
solid material with no filament or tube or bulb to break
4. No warm-up period - LEDs light instantly in nanoseconds
5. Not affected by cold temperatures - LEDs like low temperatures and will
startup even in subzero weather
6. Directional - With LEDs you can direct the light where you want it, thus no
light is wasted
7. Excellent Color Rendering - LEDs do not wash out colors like other light
sources such as fluorescents, making them perfect for displays and retail
8. Environmentally friendly - LEDs contain no mercury or other hazardous
9. Controllable - LEDs can be controlled for brightness and color
Why LED's are chosen for many applications

1. LEDs are ideal for use in applications that are subject to frequent on-off
cycling, unlike fluorescent lamps that burn out more quickly when cycled
frequently, or HID lamps that require a long time before restarting.
2. LEDs can very easily be dimmed or strobed
3. LEDs light up very quickly. A typical red indicator LED will achieve full
brightness in microseconds.
4. LEDs mostly fail by dimming over time, rather than the abrupt burn-out of
incandescent bulbs
5. LEDs, being solid state components, are difficult to damage with external
shock, unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs which are fragile.
6. LEDs can be very small and are easily populated onto printed circuit boards.
7. LEDs do not contain mercury, unlike compact fluorescent lamps
Disadvantages and challenges in using LEDs
LEDs are currently more expensive, price per lumen, on an initial capital cost basis,
than more conventional lighting technologies. However, when considering the total
cost of ownership (including energy and maintenance costs), LEDs far surpass
incandescent or halogen sources and begin to threaten compact fluorescent lamps.
The Chart Below compares different light sources based upon the life of the bulb
and the electrical cost at 10 cents per kWh (kilowatt hour). Note: fixture costs and
installation costs are not included.

LED performance largely depends on correctly

engineering the fixture to manage the heat generated by the LED, which causes
deterioration of the LED chip itself. Over-driving the LED or not engineering the
product to manage heat in high ambient temperatures may result in overheating of
the LED package, eventually leading to device failure. Adequate heat-sinking is
required to maintain long life. The most common design of a heat sink is a metal
device with many fins, which conducts the heat away from the LED. For more
information on this, refer to the Thermal Management tab.
LEDs must be supplied with the correct voltage and current at a constant flow. This
requires some electronics expertise to design the electronic drivers.
LEDs can shift color due to age and temperature. Also two different white LED will
have two different color characteristics, which affect how the light is perceived.
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that creates light using solid-state electronics.
A diode is composed of a layer of electron rich material separated by a layer of electron deficient
material which forms a junction. Power applied to this junction excites the electrons in the electron
rich material leading to photon emission and the creation of light. Depending on the chemical
composition of the semiconductor layers, the color of light emission will vary within the
electromagnetic spectrum.

The individual diodes are grouped together to form a traffic signal where depending on the individual
LED size up to several hundred lamps are packaged into an array to form a traffic signal head. Two
styles of LED traffic signals known as the diffused and pixilated style are commonly used. In the
pixilated style the actual LED array is visible within the traffic signal head while the diffused lens
provides a uniform appearance similar to an incandescent signal.

LEDs are much more energy efficient than their incandescent counterparts for several reasons. LEDs
produce uniform light dispersion and light output is dispersed evenly over the lens which make them
brighter than incandescent lamps. LEDs are very energy efficient producing up to 90 percent light
output with very little heat while incandescent bulbs use up to 90 percent of their energy generating
heat. Incandescent lamps only produce white light which must be filtered for traffic signal use, and
this leads to an additional loss in energy. LEDs, on the other hand, produce colored light that does not
need to be filtered out all of the energy is concentrated around one color band and none is wasted
on undesired colors.
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits visible light
when an electric current passes through it. The light is not particularly bright,
but in most LEDs it is monochromatic, occurring at a single wavelength. The
output from an LED can range from red (at a wavelength of approximately
700 nanometers) to blue-violet (about 400 nanometers). Some LEDs emit
infrared (IR) energy (830 nanometers or longer); such a device is known as
an infrared-emitting diode (IRED).

An LED or IRED consists of two elements of processed material called P-type

semiconductors and N-type semiconductors. These two elements are placed
in direct contact, forming a region called the P-N junction. In this respect, the
LED or IRED resembles most other diodetypes, but there are important
differences. The LED or IRED has a transparent package, allowing visible or
IR energy to pass through. Also, the LED or IRED has a large PN-junction area
whose shape is tailored to the application.

Benefits of LEDs and IREDs, compared with incandescent and fluorescent

illuminating devices, include:

Low power requirement: Most types can be operated with battery

power supplies.

High efficiency: Most of the power supplied to an LED or IRED is

converted into radiation in the desired form, with minimal heat

Long life: When properly installed, an LED or IRED can function for

Typical applications include:

Indicator lights: These can be two-state (i.e., on/off), bar-graph, or

alphabetic-numeric readouts.

LCD panel backlighting: Specialized white LEDs are used in flat-

panel computer displays.

Fiber optic data transmission: Ease of modulation allows wide

communicationsbandwidth with minimal noise, resulting in high speed
and accuracy.
Remote control: Most home-entertainment "remotes" use IREDs to
transmit data to the main unit.

Optoisolator: Stages in an electronic system can be connected

together without unwanted interaction.
Semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity is between insulator ( insulator ) and
conductor . Also known as a semiconductor material half the conduction of electricity.