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Running Head: LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES

Light Emission in Devices


Marcelo Sleiman Jr.
Ocean Lakes High School

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


Introduction
Light is such an amazing thing. Human life has always revolved around it. Even
before electricity, before any type of human development, any form of life needs light.
Without light, there is no life. Especially now a days, where everyone is so reliant on cell
phones, computers, televisions, or any other type of electronic device! The one that seems
to be most popular in todays society is the smart phone. Light has been transformed,
from sunlight, something we cant look directly at, into a form of light where humans
stare at it for most of the day. How is light put into devices so people can stare directly at
it, and is it safe? If it is not safe, are there other ways to make it safe?
What I Know, Assume, and Imagine
Before I started my research, I knew almost nothing about the topic. All I knew
was that light shined through devices, and I wanted to know how it worked. Along with
that, I wanted to know whether or not it was safe! More importantly, I wanted to find out
if there are alternatives to this form of light in cell phones, if it is not safe. I only thought
of the topic of whether or not it is safe because I realized that more and more people were
starting to use glasses, my parents and I included. I thought to myself, could it be
because of over usage of devices like smart phones and computers? My father has never
worn glasses in his entire life. After about 40 years, he started to wear them. For about a
year or two now, he has been getting onto his laptop at least once a day. Sometimes this is
a 30 minute time span, sometimes it can last up to the entire day, from 9:00am to 9:00pm.
Usually, he gets on it twice a day for hour long time spans. Just now he has noticed his
vision is getting worse, he cant read things near to him. He went to get his eyes checked,
and found out he needed glasses. He now wears them every day when he gets on his
computer, but he still gets on every single day. Perhaps this usage of computer led to him
needing glasses. I have always loved technology. Every year since 6th grade, I have been

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


in a computer related class. Technology has always been one of my favorite interests. I
love messing with computers and tooling around with the programs inside them. I got my
first computer in the third grade, and have been in love since. Therefore, I knew this
could be a topic I could explore greatly!
The Search
My search started with google! The first thing I typed in was, light in devices.
Honestly, at first it was so hard to find what I was actually looking for. It took me days
just to start looking, because I always got side tracked, and taken into wrong directions.
The websites I visited never actually had information on how light actually came out
through the device. Ironically, I found the answer to my second question before I found
the answer to my first broad question! I got side tracked so much that I discovered the
negative effects of the special light, blue light, in devices before actually finding out how
the light actually shines through the device. I tried looking in a couple books but they
didnt help either. I guess I was looking in the wrong books. I also used google scholar!
That didnt turn out well either, sadly. I think it was the words I was using in my
searches. They mostly took me to websites and articles on specific devices, whether it
was a smartphone, computer, or television. I never could find the science behind light
coming through the screen. I honestly thought this search was going to be easy, but after
seeing how much websites can really throw you off, and how specific you have to be in
your search engine, it turned out to be pretty challenging! Luckily I eventually found one
website that explained a lot on how it worked, and I grew exponentially from there. It
may have taken a week to find the right website, but I eventually did! Now on the issue
of it being healthy or not, and alternatives, I found a massive amount of information on

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


all of it. I know it, now, like the back of my hand. Im glad I could find the information
that I wanted.
Results
How does light emit through cell phones? Its emitted mostly by light emitting diodes
(LEDs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs). LCD screens are made of a panel of liquid
crystal molecules. Different patterns are made to block or allow light to go through,
which creates the color on the screen. The crystals are not the ones who give off light,
they just control how much light is let through. There is a backlight which shines light
behind the display, through the crystals. LED's give off their own light, and this
eliminates extra backlighting. The displays also tend to have better control of light
emission, so some may have better quality. It's also lighter and thinner. The only
downside of this is that it may be more expensive at the time.(1) LEDs are just an
improved form of LCDs. That doesnt mean there cant be improvements to LEDs. LEDs
also have many faults, including dangerous substances in the light, about 8 times the
amount of lead in red light, and increased arsenic levels, which can lead to cancer
potentials.(2) These problems are not expressed as much as they should be. If more people
knew about these problems, I believe the amount of LED users would decrease.
Now to the effects that light has on humans. What is melatonin? It is a hormone
that is responsible for your sleep cycles. Too little of it at night could lead to less sleep.(3)
Melatonin levels decrease when a person is exposed to too much blue light, transmitted
from electronics and other forms of light bulbs.(4) This affects people all over the country
because about 90% of American adults own a cell phone (5), which means these 90% can
be affected by blue light. Blue light can have worst effects on the human body at night,
when melatonin levels should be high, but the blue light keeps it from rising.(4) People all
over the world own some type of device that emits light, blue light. Too much blue light

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


and low levels of melatonin can have negative effects on the body like cancer (breast,
prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.(4) Melatonin is natural and increases in the
evening or at night, and then drops in the morning. Melatonin supplements are used to
treat tiredness, or other sleep problems like insomnia.(3) It basically makes people tired,
which is why blue light decreasing its levels can be a problem. Blue light ruins sleep
cycles because they decrease melatonin levels.
Now that it is shown to have problems, there can be alternatives. What are
different forms of light and their affects? If there are lights that can be made to be emitted
rather than blue light, there could be a lot less health risks. There are more ways of light.
The more natural way include three colors, yellow, red, and orange, naturally made in
fires.(6) These hurt and damage the body much less than blue light. Different colors on the
visible spectrum give off different amounts of melatonin according to where it is on the
spectrum, and their wavelengths.(7) If more red, yellow, and orange light is used, it is
predicted more people would sleep better and longer. This is because too much blue light
throws off your sleep cycles. Maybe humans could use fire light to use in devices, where
a Flame is lit inside the phone to illuminate it. Light is a great thing, and needs to be
valued greatly.
What Next?
With all this great new information, I can take off and go do a couple
things. I could make this my senior project, which is definitely possible! I also could go
to an electrician, technician, and teachers in my school, or any other professional in the
field, to clear my understandings of alternative light sources. Another thing I could do is
attempt to build, design, or create an idea of the alternative light source, using a form of a
flame to illuminate devices, without it being dangerous. I can visit an apple factory,

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


where iPhones, iPads, and other devices like that to see for myself how it is made. I can
ask to take a tour in the factory to see how it is all done, and ask where the weakest parts
of building devices are. That could be either in the screen itself, or tackle it from the
source: the light bulb. One last thing I could do is apply for a job at a place where I could
be working with technology, and gain experience that way to get ideas from different
places, and see what I could do with the new information I learn. There are lots of things
possible when it comes to light, anything is possible. I will never give up!

LIGHT EMISSION IN DEVICES


Cited References
1. Tufts, A. (2013). One Click Root. Retrieved from
http://www.oneclickroot.com/android-smartphones/led-versus-lcd-smartphonescreens-which-one-is-best-for-you/
2. Louise, M. (2012). The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs. Retrieved from
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/led-lightbulb-concerns/
3. Melatonin for Sleep: Hormone and Supplement Effects on Sleep. (2015). Retrieved
from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/tc/melatonin-overview
4. Blue light has a dark side - Harvard Health. (2012). Retrieved from
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
5. Mobile Technology Fact Sheet. (2013). Retrieved from
http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/
6. Sisson, M. (2012). Will Blue Light Affect Your Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple.
Retrieved from http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-conduct-a-personalexperiment-yellow-light-exposure-plus-an-announcement/#axzz3cgNHarxI
7. Brown, T., & Spilman, A.K. (2015). Light. In World Book Student. Retrieved from
http://classic.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar323260