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The light emitting diode (LED) could be considered the ultimate general source of continuous light because of its high luminescence (EL) efficiency, quick response time, and long lifetime. For example, the electrical efficiency of a standard \u201cwhite\u201d light is almost halved if a color filter is employed to produce color, such as is the case for traffic signal lights. A more sensible approach would be to use colored LEDs. This would also reduce the amount of maintenance required, as standard traffic light signal lights need to be replaced every six months. The initial cost of replacing standard traffic signal lights with colored LEDs would be rewarded within ten years. In addition, the cost for white LEDs is reduced year by year with the advance of related technology. Therefore, the cost would not be a problem in the near future.
For room light application, the power and stability requirement for LEDs is higher. Basically, 100 lm/W white LED is needed for meeting the requirement. Two announcements from Cree and Nichia make the room light application closer to reality and the Meijo University in Japan also announced high efficient white LED:
(3) On Nov 15, 2006:
Nichia has developed white LEDs with indium tin oxide contacts that can deliver an
efficacy of 138lm/W@20mA
One is to mix RGB (red, green, blue) to generate white light. The other is to use blue LEDs with sufficiently high energy to excitephosphors or YAG phosphor powder to generate white light. With this method, only one blue LED chip is required. Most currently available white LEDs are based on the blue LED and phosphor approach. Therefore, the price is lower than that with the first method. From the information above, it is clearly known that the blue or purple LED is the key to white LED generation.
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