It’s a light-emitting diode that uses a process called electroluminescence to create light, naturally. Clear things up? Probably not. Here’s a simple breakdown of the innovative technology that has become the basis for an entire revolution in the lighting industry.
A diode is the simplest type of device created from a semiconductor. A semiconductor conducts electricity between metal and an insulator. They can be found in anything that’s computerized or uses radio waves. They are used in microchips and transistors and are often made from silicon.
It’s quantum physics. Essentially, electrons are made to “fall” microscopic distances to fill “holes” created by two bonding elements. This falling releases energy in the form of light photons – electroluminescence. The greater the fall, the greater the light frequency, which allows for a variation of colors to be emitted. For example, when the fall is short enough, the frequency is so low that we can’t even see it, and this is what is used in infrared remote controls.
Today’s LED light bulbs are designed to project the majority of light created outward, in a specific direction. This concentrated light output accounts for the greatest advantage of LEDs over incandescent light bulbs – efficiency. When looking at the overall luminous efficacy (brightness per watt of electricity) of an LED (76.9 lumens per watt on average) versus an incandescent bulb (17 lm/W on average), it’s obvious that the brightness emitted by an LED requires far less energy to create it. After all, most of an incandescent bulb’s energy goes into heating the filament enough to make it glow. Additionally, with no filament to heat and eventually burn out, LEDs last as long as the transistors that make them up, which can be anywhere from 25,000 – 100,000 hours!
The advantages of LEDs continue to expand with the increasing number of applications that use them. Once used primarily to indicate power, or display time on digital clocks, LEDs often only exhibited a single color (red), in a single direction, and were far too expensive to use in greater capacities. Now, with advancements in semiconductor technology and manufacturing, along with the ability of some bulbs to project light omni-directionally using reflectors, we are able to effectively use them in everything from common light bulbs to TVs. In fact, the future of LEDs may even involve replacing WiFi with LiFi (light fidelity).
By basically replacing a system utilizing radio waves to transmit signals (WiFi), LiFi would use light waves, resulting in virtually limitless bandwidth for data to flow. Although these waves wouldn’t be able to penetrate walls to transmit signals, this system would provide more security against hackers attempting to steal information. Plus, it wouldn’t create electromagnetic interference in sensitive locations such as airplane cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants. Not to mention, it would be exponentially faster!
Science aside, LED light bulbs provide a highly efficient and effective means to brighten your world for years to come. To learn more about LED bulb color temperature, brightness options and how to best retrofit your home or business with these energy-efficient lighting replacements, visit our website or stop by your local store and speak with a trained associate.
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