WHAT DOES LED STAND FOR: LIGHT EMITTING DIODE
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs began as exciting but expensive electronic components in the sixties, used in handheld calculators and other similar devices. Through research and development, LED technology advanced, became more efficient and less expensive, until it reached its current form.
LEDs can now be used for a number of lighting applications and are available across the spectrum of visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. Affordable 12V LED lights, for example, are often used as a conventional lighting source in homes, offices, and places of business because they are more energy-efficient, last longer, are more physically durable, and are safer than incandescent lighting sources.
“LIGHT EMITTING DIODE” LIGHT WITH LESS ELECTRICITY
However, the same technology that allows LEDs to produce light with less electricity use also means that it has different hardware requirements than incandescent lights. Proper 12V LED light installation includes the use of specific power adapters or drivers to regulate the voltage and heat that reaches the Light Emitting Diode, so that the diodes only receives the right amount of electricity and continues to function properly.
How Do LED Lights Work?
Connecting a diode to an electrical current excites the electrons within the diode, making them release photons, which we see as light. The color of the light is a direct result of the energy gap in the semiconductor of the diode. This means that LEDs produce a spectrum of colors easily and brightly while using very little electricity to do so.
It’s really simple actually, and very cheap to produce…which is why there was so much excitement when LED lights were first invented!
The Technical Details: LED lights are composed of two types of semiconducting material (a p-type and an n-type). Both the p-type and n-type materials, also called extringent materials, have been doped (dipped into a substance called a “doping agent”) so as to slightly alter their electrical properties from their pure, unaltered, or “intrinsic” form (i-type).
The p-type and n-type materials are created by introducing the original material to atoms of another element. These new atoms replace some of the previously existing atoms and in so doing, alter the physical and chemical structure. The p-type materials are created using elements (such as boron) that have less valence electrons than the intrinsic material (oftentimes silicon).
The n-type materials are created using elements (such as phosphorus) that have more valence electrons that the intrinsic material (oftentimes silicon). The net effect is the creation of a p-n junction with interesting and useful properties for electronic applications. What those properties are exactly depends mostly on the external voltage applied to the circuit (if any) and the direction of current (i.e. which side, the p-type or the n-type, is connected to the positive terminal and which is connected to the negative terminal).
In the search for energy-efficient lighting, LEDs have proven to be the most efficient bulbs available. Razorlux–rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
LEDs even outdo CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) bulbs in efficiency, primarily because they have twice the lifespan of CFLs. LEDs are more efficient than both incandescents and CFLs because they emit light in a targeted direction — instead of scattering it in all directions — and they don’t require or emit great amounts of heat. Incandescents and CFLs release most of their energy as heat — 90 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
The benefit of LED’s compared to incandescent lights is that they have lower energy consumption and last longer.The technology is however still relatively expensive compared to traditional lighting and is therefore not used as widely.Analysts agree that as the technology develops and reaches scale the price will come down and become much more sort after.
Why are led lights better?
LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent lights. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat.
This is compared to fluorescent lights which convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light! LED lights also draw much less power than traditional lighting; a typical 84 watt fluorescent can be replaced by a 36 watt LED to give the same level of light. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
No Toxic Elements
LED lights contain no toxic elements. Most offices currently use fluorescent strip lights which contain noxious chemicals such as mercury. This will contaminate the environment when disposed of in landfill waste. Disposal has to be arranged through a registered waste carrier so switching to LED avoids the cost and time implications required for compliant disposal – and helps to protect the environment from further toxic waste.
Less Lights Needed
LEDs have a better quality of light distribution and focus light in one direction as opposed to other types of lighting which waste energy by emitting light in all directions, often illuminating areas where light isn’t required (such as the ceiling). This means that less LED lights are needed to achieve the same level of brightness given off by fluorescents and incandescent lights. Fewer lights will reduce energy consumption and will therefore be a benefit to the environment.
A longer life span means lower carbon emissions. LED Lights last up to six times longer than other types of lights, reducing the requirement for frequent replacements. This results in using fewer lights and hence fewer resources are needed for manufacturing processes, packaging materials and transportation.
Author: Alex Connell, Public Relations Officer at LED Light. Alex builds a good reputation for the organisation and manages its relationship with the public. He is also a writer promoting the environmental and performance benefits of LED lights.
The biggest problem for consumers when purchasing LEDs for residential lighting is the upfront cost. Depending upon the size and brand of the bulb, LEDs can cost two to six times the price of CFLs. When replacing bulbs for multiple lighting fixtures, the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on bulbs deters many potential customers. However, LED production is not only improving but increasing, which will mean greater affordability for consumers in the near future.
Blue, Red, Yellow, Red-Orange and Green LED Light Colors
LEDs in the late 70s and early 80s were limited to only a few colors; red, yellow, red-orange, and green were the prominent colors available. While it was possible in the lab to produce LEDs with different colors, the cost of production kept additions to the LED color spectrum from being mass-produced.
It was thought that an LED producing light in the blue spectrum would allow LEDs to be used in full-color displays. The search was on for a commercially viable blue LED, which, when combined with existing red and yellow LEDs, could produce a wide spectrum of colors. The first high-brightness blue LED made its debut in 1994. High-power and high-efficiency blue LEDs appeared a few years later.
But the idea of using LEDs for a full spectrum display never got too far until the invention of the white LED, which occurred shortly after high-efficiency blue LEDs appeared.
Although you may see the term LED TV or LED monitor, most of these types of displays use an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) for the actual display component and use LEDs to illuminate the LCDs. That’s not to say true LED-based displays aren’t available in monitors and TVs using OLED (Organic LED) technology; they just tend to be pricey and difficult to manufacture at large scales. But as the manufacturing process continues to mature, so does LED lighting.
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