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For other uses, see LED (disambiguation). Light-emitting diode RBG-LED.jpg Red, pure green and blue LEDs of the 5mm diffused type Type Passive, optoelectronic Working principle Electroluminescence Invented Nick Holonyak Jr. (1962)[1] First production 1968[2] Electronic symbol LED symbol.svg Pin configuration anode and cathode Parts of an LED. Although not directly labeled, the flat bottom surfaces of the anvil and post embedded inside the epoxy act as anchors, to prevent the conductors from being forcefully pulled out from mechanical strain or vibration. Modern LED retrofit with E27 screw in base LED retrofit "bulb" with aluminium heatsink, a diffusing dome and E27 base, using a built-in power supply working on mains voltage A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source.[3] LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting. Introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962,[4] early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light, but modern versions are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness. When a light-emitting diode is forward-biased (switched on), electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor. LEDs are often small in area (less than 1 mm2), and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.[5] LEDs present many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are relatively expensive and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output. Light-emitting diodes are used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive lighting, advertising, general lighting, and traffic signals. LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology. Infrared LEDs are also used in the remote control units of many commercial products including televisions, DVD players, and other domestic appliances. Contents 1 History 1.1 Discoveries and early devices 1.2 Practical use 1.3 Continuing development 2 Technology 2.1 Physics 2.2 Refractive index 2.2.1 Transition coatings 2.3 Efficiency and operational parameters 2.4 Lifetime and failure 3 Colors and materials 3.1 Ultraviolet and blue LEDs

3.2 White light 3.2.1 RGB systems 3.2.2 Phosphor-based LEDs 3.2.3 Other white LEDs 3.3 Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) 3.4 Quantum dot LEDs (experimental) 4 Types 4.1 Miniature 4.2 Mid-range 4.3 High-power 4.4 Application-specific variations 5 Considerations for use 5.1 Power sources 5.2 Electrical polarity 5.3 Safety and health 5.4 Advantages 5.5 Disadvantages 6 Applications 6.1 Indicators and signs 6.2 Lighting 6.3 Smart lighting 6.4 Sustainable lighting 6.4.1 Energy consumption 6.4.2 Economically sustainable 6.5 Other applications 6.6 Light sources for machine vision systems 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links History Discoveries and early devices Green electroluminescence from a point contact on a crystal of SiC recreates H. J. Round's original experiment from 1907. Electroluminescence as a phenomenon was discovered in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round of Marconi Labs, using a crystal of silicon carbide and a cat's-whisker detector.[6][7] Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev reported creation of the first LED in 1927.[8][9] His research was distributed in Russian, German and British scientific journals, but no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades.[10][11] Rubin Braunstein[12] of the Radio Corporation of America reported on infrared emission from gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor alloys in 1955.[13] Braunstein observed infrared emission generated by simple diode structures using gallium antimonide (GaSb), GaAs, indium phosphide (InP), and silicon-germanium (SiGe) alloys at room temperature and at 77 kelvin. In 1961 American experimenters Robert Biard and Gary Pittman, working at Texas Instruments,[14] found that GaAs emitted infrared radiation when electric current was applied and received the patent for the infrared LED. The first practical visible-spectrum (red) LED was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr., while working at General Electric Company.[4] Holonyak is seen as the "father of the light-emitting diode". [15] M. George Craford,[16] a former graduate student of Holonyak, invented the first yellow LED and improved the brightness of red and red-orange LEDs by a factor of ten in 1972.[17] In 1976, T. P. Pearsall created the first high-brightness, high-efficiency LEDs for optical fiber telecommunications by inventing new semiconductor materials specifically adapted to optical fiber

This trend is called Haitz's law after Dr. Readouts in calculators were so small that plastic lenses were built over each digit to make them legible. In the 1970s commercially successful LED devices at less than five cents each were produced by Fairchild Optoelectronics. Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1¾ and 3 mm T1 packages. while maintaining efficiency and reliability at acceptable levels.[2] Hewlett Packard (HP) introduced LEDs in 1968.[25] borrowing on critical developments in GaN nucleation on sapphire substrates and the demonstration of p-type doping of GaN. a luminous efficacy of 300 lumens of visible light per watt of radiation (not per electrical watt) and warm-light emission was achieved by using nanocrystals. then later in such appliances as TVs. which employed a Y3Al5O12:Ce. Alberto Barbieri at the Cardiff University Laboratory (GB) investigated the efficiency and reliability of high-brightness LEDs and demonstrated a very impressive result by using a transparent contact made of indium tin oxide (ITO) on (AlGaInP/GaAs) LED. Light output per LED as a function of production year. on the order of US$200 per unit. visible and infrared LEDs were extremely costly.[2] The Monsanto Company was the first organization to mass-produce visible LEDs. As LED materials technology grew more advanced. Jean Hoerni at Fairchild Semiconductor. in a way similar to Moore's law. These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators. which is fast replacing incandescent and fluorescent lighting[22][23] (see list of illumination applications). light output rose.[27] In February 2008. telephones. and even watches (see list of signal uses). Packages for state-of-the-art high-power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs.[24] so more complex packages have been adapted for efficient heat dissipation. it has grown increasingly necessary to shed excess heat to maintain reliability. Later. Nakamura was awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention. 1978). phosphor coating to mix yellow (down-converted) light with blue to produce light that appears white. or "YAG".[19] The combination of planar processing for chip fabrication and innovative packaging methods enabled the team at Fairchild led by optoelectronics pioneer Thomas Brandt to achieve the needed cost reductions. radios.[21] first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment. note the logarithmic scale on the vertical axis The first high-brightness blue LED was demonstrated by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Corporation and was based on InGaN. with a doubling occurring about every 36 months since the 1960s. and so had little practical use. The technology proved to have major uses for alphanumeric displays and was integrated into HP's early handheld calculators.[28] . initially using GaAsP supplied by Monsanto. The existence of blue LEDs and high-efficiency LEDs quickly led to the development of the first white LED. but with rising power output.[20] Practical use LED display of a TI-30 scientific calculator (ca. These methods continue to be used by LED producers. These devices employed compound semiconductor chips fabricated with the planar process invented by Dr. Continuing development Illustration of Haitz's law. Amano in Nagoya. which were developed by Isamu Akasaki and H.transmission wavelengths. The invention and development of the high-power white-light LED led to use for illumination. and in seven-segment displays.[citation needed] In 1995. using gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) in 1968 to produce red LEDs suitable for indicators. which uses plastic lenses to increase the visible digit size The first commercial LEDs were commonly used as replacements for incandescent and neon indicator lamps.[18] Until 1968. other colors grew widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. Roland Haitz. as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area.[26] The development of LED technology has caused their efficiency and light output to rise exponentially. calculators. The advances are in general attributed to the parallel development of other semiconductor technologies and advances in optics and material science.

Most materials used for LED production have very high refractive indices. or near-ultraviolet light. LEDs are usually built on an n-type substrate. and thus its color depends on the band gap energy of the materials forming the p-n junction. Refractive index Idealized example of light emission cones in a semiconductor. Many commercial LEDs. Bare uncoated semiconductors such as silicon exhibit a very high refractive index relative to open air. subject to much research and development. so this is a simplified diagram showing the extents of all the emission cones combined. Thus. The light is actually emitted equally in all directions from the point-source. Charge-carriers—electrons and holes—flow into the junction from electrodes with different voltages. the electrons and holes recombine by a non-radiative transition. or cathode. Typical on voltages are 2–3 volts.[34] The light emission cones of a real LED wafer are far more complex than a single point-source light emission. Zhong Lin Wang from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that the energy efficiency of Piezoelectric UV LEDs can be increased by 400% (from 2% to 8%) by using zinc oxide nanowires. The light emission zone is typically a two-dimensional plane between the wafers. while less common. or anode. emitting light in a variety of colors. In silicon or germanium diodes. but not in the reverse direction. because these are indirect band gap materials. LED development began with infrared and red devices made with gallium arsenide. The materials used for the LED have a direct band gap with energies corresponding to near-infrared. it falls into a lower energy level.[31] Epitaxy costs could be reduced by up to 90% using six-inch silicon wafers instead of two-inch sapphire wafers. for a single point-source emission zone. so the areas between the cones shows the large amount of trapped light energy that is wasted as heat. Drawing the billions of overlapping cones is impossible. especially GaN/InGaN. As in other diodes. Every atom across this plane has an individual set of emission cones.[33] Technology The inner workings of an LED I-V diagram for a diode. When an electron meets a hole. with an electrode attached to the p-type layer deposited on its surface. and releases energy in the form of a photon. Physics The LED consists of a chip of semiconducting material doped with impurities to create a p-n junction. The wavelength of the light emitted. visible. [32] In 2011. light extraction in LEDs is an important aspect of LED production. This means that much light will be reflected back into the material at the material/air surface interface. An LED will begin to emit light when the on-voltage is exceeded. also use sapphire substrate. occur as well. which prevents passage of photons at sharp angles relative to the air-contacting surface of the . Advances in materials science have enabled making devices with ever-shorter wavelengths. The left illustration is for a fully translucent wafer.[30] processes for growing gallium nitride (GaN) LEDs on silicon were successfully demonstrated. which produces no optical emission. The larger side cones are clipped to show the interior features and reduce image complexity. to the n-side. yielding high power LEDs reported in January 2012. while the right illustration shows the halfcones formed when the bottom layer is fully opaque.In 2001[29] and 2002. they would extend to the opposite edges of the twodimensional emission plane. P-type substrates. current flows easily from the p-side.

In this case the light can not escape and is lost as waste heat in the crystal.[39] The ideal shape of a semiconductor with maximum light output would be a microsphere with the photon emission occurring at the exact center. with electrodes penetrating to the center to contact at the emission point. One of the key advantages of LED-based lighting sources is high luminous efficiency. the faces all act as equal angle mirrors. Around 1999. to provide 24 mW at 20 milliamperes (mA).[36] In general. with the flat back-surface serving as a mirror to back-scattered photons.[38] A convoluted chip surface with angled facets similar to a jewel or fresnel lens can increase light output by allowing light to be emitted perpendicular to the chip surface while far to the sides of the photon emission point. a conventional incandescent light bulb of 60–100 watts emits around 15 lm/W. White LEDs quickly matched and overtook the efficacy of standard incandescent lighting systems.0002926.[38] Internal reflections can escape through other crystalline faces.[41] The third feature helps to boost the light emission from the semiconductor by acting as a diffusing lens.[38] The maximum angle of incidence is referred to as the critical angle. The tiny fragile electrical wiring is physically supported and protected from damage. These LEDs used much larger semiconductor die sizes to handle the large power inputs. A recurring problem is that efficacy falls sharply with rising current. a flat-surface uncoated LED semiconductor chip will emit light only perpendicular to the semiconductor's surface. But for a simple square LED with 90-degree angled surfaces on all sides. The refractive index of silicon is 3. All light rays emanating from the center would be perpendicular to the entire surface of the sphere. Also. and standard fluorescent lights emit up to 100 lm/W. In 2002. if the incidence angle is low enough and the crystal is sufficiently transparent to not re-absorb the photon emission.96 (590 nm)[35]. A hemispherical semiconductor would also work.[40] Transition coatings Many LED semiconductor chips are potted in clear or colored molded plastic shells. allowing light to be emitted at a much higher angle of incidence from the light cone than the bare chip is able to emit alone. The plastic shell has three purposes: Mounting the semiconductor chip in devices is easier to accomplish. When this angle is exceeded.[42][43][44] In September 2003. resulting in no internal reflections. For comparison. The plastic acts as a refractive intermediary between the relatively high-index semiconductor and low-index open air. Lumileds made five-watt LEDs available with a luminous efficacy of 18–22 lumens per watt (lm/W). This effect is known as droop and effectively limits the light output of a given LED. and a few degrees to the side. Efficiency and operational parameters Typical indicator LEDs are designed to operate with no more than 30–60 milliwatts (mW) of electrical power. in a cone shape referred to as the light cone. a new type of blue LED was demonstrated by the company Cree Inc.[37] or the escape cone. cone of light. the semiconductor dies were mounted onto metal slugs to allow for heat removal from the LED die. Philips Lumileds introduced power LEDs capable of continuous use at one watt. This property affects both the light-emission efficiency of LEDs as well as the lightabsorption efficiency of photovoltaic cells. while air is 1. This produced a commercially packaged white light giving .semiconductor. raising heating more than light output for higher current. photons no longer penetrate the semiconductor but are instead reflected both internally inside the semiconductor crystal and externally off the surface of the crystal as if it were a mirror.

Typical lifetimes quoted are 25.[50] LED light output rises at lower temperatures.000 to 100. LED performance is temperature dependent. leveling off depending on type at around −30C. voltage drop and material: Color Wavelength [nm] Voltage drop [ΔV] Semiconductor material . In 2006. Note that these efficiencies are for the LED chip only. additionally. held at low temperature in a lab. [48] The most common symptom of LED (and diode laser) failure is the gradual lowering of light output and loss of efficiency. could result in low signal intensities or even failure. LED technology may be a good replacement in uses such as supermarket freezer lighting[51][52][53] and will last longer than other technologies. becoming the brightest white LED commercially available at the time. can occur as well.[50] Similarly. of one watt or more. Most manufacturers’ published ratings of LEDs are for an operating temperature of 25 °C. Early red LEDs were notable for their short lifetime.[45] Cree's XLamp XML LEDs. 2010 about a laboratory prototype LED achieving 208 lumens per watt at room temperature. which is the time it will take a given LED to reach 70% and 50% light output respectively. [47] Lifetime and failure Main article: List of LED failure modes Solid-state devices such as LEDs are subject to very limited wear and tear if operated at low currents and at low temperatures. LEDs used outdoors.65 lm/W at 20 mA. and that are utilized in climates where the temperature within the luminaire gets very hot. Typical operating currents for such devices begin at 350 mA. the following table shows the available colors with wavelength range. ice and snow may build up on the LED luminaire in colder climates. To quantitatively classify useful lifetime in a standardized manner it has been suggested to use the terms L70 and L50. Nichia Corporation has developed a white LED with luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W at a forward current of 20 mA.000 hours.[54] Colors and materials Conventional LEDs are made from a variety of inorganic semiconductor materials. commercially available in 2011. produce 100 lumens per watt at their full power of 10 watts. and up to 160 lumens/watt at around 2 watts input power. research has been done to try to develop heat sink technologies which will transfer heat produced within the junction to appropriate areas of the luminaire. The correlated color temperature was reported to be 4579 K. but heat and current settings can extend or shorten this time significantly. [citation needed] Thus. However. and more than four times as efficient as standard incandescents. Practical general lighting needs high-power LEDs. this lack of waste heat generation has been observed to sometimes cause significant problems with street traffic signals and airport runway lighting in snow-prone areas. Many of the LEDs made in the 1970s and 1980s are still in service today. such as traffic signals or in-pavement signal lights. so efficiencies are much lower. they demonstrated a prototype with a record white LED luminous efficacy of 131 lm/W at 20 mA.[46] Cree issued a press release on February 3.[49] Like other lighting devices. because they emit little heat. With the development of high-power LEDs the devices are subjected to higher junction temperatures and higher current densities than traditional devices. This causes stress on the material and may cause early light-output degradation. although rare. United States Department of Energy (DOE) testing of commercial LED lamps designed to replace incandescent lamps or CFLs showed that average efficacy was still about 46 lm/W in 2009 (tested performance ranged from 17 lm/W to 79 lm/W). In response to this problem. they are an energy-efficient technology for uses such as freezers. Sudden failures. some LED lighting systems have been designed with an added heating circuit (but which reduces the overall electrical efficiency of the system). Lighting works at higher temperature and with drive circuit losses. Because LEDs emit less heat than incandescent bulbs.

63 < ΔV < 2.9[55] < ΔV < 4.0 Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) Purple multiple types 2.03 < ΔV < 2.3[61] Blue with one or two phosphor layers: yellow with red. In the late 1980s. but did emit in the blue portion of the visible light spectrum.48 < ΔV < 3.1 < ΔV < 4. The first blue LEDs using gallium nitride were made in 1971 by Jacques Pankove at RCA Laboratories.63 Gallium arsenide (GaAs) Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs) Red 610 < λ < 760 1. or white with purple plastic Ultraviolet λ < 400 3. though white LEDs today rarely use this principle.18 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP) Green 500 < λ < 570 1. no more than about 0. or white with pink pigment or dye.7 Zinc selenide (ZnSe) Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) Silicon carbide (SiC) as substrate Silicon (Si) as substrate – (under development) Violet 400 < λ < 450 2.0 Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) / Gallium(III) nitride (GaN) Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP) Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) Aluminium gallium phosphide (AlGaP) Blue 450 < λ < 500 2.[63] These devices had too little light output to be of practical use and research into gallium nitride devices slowed.[64] SiC LEDs had very low efficiency.Infrared λ > 760 ΔV < 1. introduced the first commercially available blue LED based on the indirect bandgap semiconductor. silicon carbide.03 Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs) Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP) Orange 590 < λ < 610 2.76 < ΔV < 4.03%.10 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP) Yellow 570 < λ < 590 2. They can be added to existing red and green LEDs to produce the impression of white light. blue with red phosphor. Cree Inc.10 < ΔV < 2. [62] White Broad spectrum ΔV = 3. key breakthroughs in GaN epitaxial growth and p-type doping[65] . orange or pink phosphor added afterwards.48 < ΔV < 3.7 Dual blue/red LEDs.4 Diamond (235 nm)[56] Boron nitride (215 nm)[57][58] Aluminium nitride (AlN) (210 nm)[59] Aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN) Aluminium gallium indium nitride (AlGaInN) – (down to 210 nm)[60] Pink multiple types ΔV ~ 3. In August 1989.5 Blue/UV diode with yellow phosphor Ultraviolet and blue LEDs Blue LEDs Current bright blue LEDs are based on the wide band gap semiconductors GaN (gallium nitride) and InGaN (indium gallium nitride).

[68] Deep-UV wavelengths were obtained in laboratories using aluminium nitride (210 nm). these are seldom used to produce white lighting. it is possible to have quite different spectra that appear white.[67] As the photosensitivity of microorganisms approximately matches the absorption spectrum of DNA. even shorter wavelengths are achievable. Near-UV emitters at wavelengths around 375–395 nm are already cheap and often encountered. and high-brightness red solid-state semiconductor LEDs. Ultraviolet LEDs in a range of wavelengths are becoming available on the market. this method is . called cladding layers. Shorter-wavelength diodes.ushered in the modern era of GaN-based optoelectronic devices. yellow-green. green. FWHM spectral bandwidth is approximately 24–27 nm for all three colors. and because the individual color LEDs typically have slightly different emission patterns (leading to variation of the color depending on direction) even if they are made as a single unit. electrical energy used) reached 10%. the most common method is to use red. Recent research has shown that commercially available UVA LEDs (365 nm) are already effective disinfection and sterilization devices. the light emission can be varied from violet to amber. Because these need electronic circuits to control the blending and diffusion of different colors. making high-power light sources practical. but these devices have not yet reached the level of efficiency and technological maturity of the InGaN-GaN blue/green devices. in 1993 high-brightness blue LEDs were demonstrated. AlGaN aluminium gallium nitride of varying AlN fraction can be used to manufacture the cladding and quantum well layers for ultraviolet LEDs. the device will emit near-ultraviolet light with wavelengths around 350–370 nm. and blue—and then mix all the colors to form white light. as black light lamp replacements for inspection of anti-counterfeiting UV watermarks in some documents and paper currencies. Nevertheless.[66] High-brightness blue LEDs invented by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Corporation using gallium nitride revolutionized LED lighting. while substantially more expensive. By varying the relative InN-GaN fraction in the InGaN quantum wells. with a peak at about 254 nm. much in the same way a fluorescent light bulb works. most often AlGaN and AlGaInN. LEDs that generate high-intensity white light. RGB systems Combined spectral curves for blue.[56] White light There are two primary ways of producing white light-emitting diodes (WLEDs). UV LED emitting at 250–270 nm are to be expected in prospective disinfection and sterilization devices. for example. With nitrides containing aluminium. are commercially available for wavelengths down to 247 nm. Building upon this foundation. blue LEDs had become widely available. White light can be formed by mixing differently colored lights. By the late 1990s. One is to use individual LEDs that emit three primary colors[69]—red. Due to metamerism. They have an active region consisting of one or more InGaN quantum wells sandwiched between thicker layers of GaN. [59] boron nitride (215 nm)[57][58] and diamond (235 nm). instead of alloyed InGaN or AlGaN. Hence the method is called multi-color white LEDs (sometimes referred to as RGB LEDs). and blue (RGB). The other is to use a phosphor material to convert monochromatic light from a blue or UV LED to broad-spectrum white light. Green LEDs manufactured from the InGaN-GaN system are far more efficient and brighter than green LEDs produced with non-nitride material systems. If the active quantum well layers are GaN. Efficiency (light energy produced vs. green.

higher efficiency will mean lower color rendering. they often have poor luminous efficiency. phosphors of different colors can be employed. Due to the simplicity of manufacturing the phosphor method is still the most popular method for making high-intensity white LEDs. include color stability. the dichromatic white LEDs have the best luminous efficacy (120 lm/W).[72] A fraction of the blue light undergoes the Stokes shift being transformed from shorter wavelengths to longer.[70] and. multi-color LEDs should have profound influence on the fundamental method that we use to produce and control light color. This method involves coating LEDs of one color (mostly blue LEDs made of InGaN) with phosphor of different colors to form white light. Thus. Trichromatic white LEDs are in between. Losses attributable to internal optical losses due to re-absorption in the LED chip and in the LED packaging itself account typically for another 10% to 30% of . several technical problems need solving. and the majority of high-intensity white LEDs presently on the market are manufactured using phosphor light conversion. with less than 10% Stoke shift loss.[73] Phosphor-based LEDs efficiency losses are due to the heat loss from the Stokes shift and also other phosphor-related degradation issues. However. and tetrachromatic white LEDs. Such problems inhibit and may preclude industrial use. in principle. which emits at roughly 500–700 nm. but the lowest color rendering capability. before this type of LED can play a role on the market. tri-. For example. and luminous efficacy. These include that this type of LED's emission power decays exponentially with rising temperature. although tetrachromatic white LEDs have excellent color rendering capability. the resultant LEDs are called phosphorbased white LEDs. color rendering capability. many new package designs aimed at solving this problem have been proposed and their results are now being reproduced by researchers and scientists.[71] resulting in a substantial change in color stability. Today the most efficient yellow phosphor is still the YAG phosphor. Often. Multi-color LEDs offer not merely another means to form white light but a new means to form light of different colors. However. Several key factors that play among these different methods. having both good luminous efficacy (>70 lm/W) and fair color rendering capability. Phosphor-based LEDs Spectrum of a “white” LED clearly showing blue light directly emitted by the GaNbased LED (peak at about 465 nm) and the more broadband Stokes-shifted light emitted by the Ce3+:YAG phosphor. effectively raising the color rendering index (CRI) value of a given LED. The design and production of a light source or light fixture using a monochrome emitter with phosphor conversion is simpler and cheaper than a complex RGB system. presenting a trade-off between the luminous efficiency and color rendering. this mechanism also has higher quantum efficiency in producing white light. As more effort is devoted to investigating this method. Depending on the color of the original LED. Among the challenges being faced to improve the efficiency of LED-based white light sources are the development of more efficient phosphors as well as the development of more efficient green LEDs. If several phosphor layers of distinct colors are applied.particularly interesting in many uses because of the flexibility of mixing different colors. the emitted spectrum is broadened. This allows precise dynamic color control. Its efficiencies compared to normal LEDs are dependent on the spectral distribution of the resultant light output and the original wavelength of the LED itself. There are several types of multi-color white LEDs: di-. Most perceivable colors can be formed by mixing different amounts of three primary colors. The theoretical maximum for green LEDs is at 683 lumens per watt but today few green LEDs exceed even 100 lumens per watt.

Conformal coating process is frequently used to address the issue of varying phosphor thickness. the electroluminescent material comprising the emissive layer of the diode is an organic compound. A concern is that UV light may leak from a malfunctioning light source and cause harm to human eyes or skin. White LEDs can also be made by coating near-ultraviolet (NUV) LEDs with a mixture of high-efficiency europium-based phosphors that emit red and blue. A common yellow phosphor material is cerium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Ce3+:YAG). This method is less efficient than blue LEDs with YAG:Ce phosphor. involving coating a blue LED with quantum dots that glow white in response to the blue light from the LED. as the Stokes shift is larger. Al) that emits green.[74] Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) Main article: Organic light-emitting diode Demonstration of a flexible OLED device In an organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Due to the higher radiative output of the ultraviolet LEDs than of the blue ones. [citation needed] Quantum dot LEDs are available in the same package types as traditional phosphor-based LEDs. the efficiency can be raised by adapting better package design or by using a more suitable type of phosphor. For instance.efficiency loss. This allows quantum dot LEDs to create almost any color on the CIE diagram. but yields light with better spectral characteristics. digital cameras. This is a method analogous to the way fluorescent lamps work.[81] Quantum dots are also being considered for use in white light-emitting diodes in liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions. much effort is being spent on optimizing these devices to higher light output and higher operation temperatures. both methods offer comparable brightness. This method emits a warm. which render color better. Currently. in the area of phosphor LED development. at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. and the material therefore functions as an organic semiconductor. or polymers.[80] Their emission color can be tuned from the visible throughout the infrared spectrum. and high contrast and color gamut.[76] Polymer LEDs have the added benefit of printable[77][78] and flexible[79] displays. and MP3 players while possible future uses include lighting and televisions.[citation needed] One example of this is a method developed by Michael Bowers. so more energy is converted to heat. yellowish-white light similar to that made by incandescent bulbs. The potential advantages of OLEDs include thin. Other white LEDs Another method used to produce experimental white light LEDs used no phosphors at all and was based on homoepitaxially grown zinc selenide (ZnSe) on a ZnSe substrate that simultaneously emitted blue light from its active region and yellow light from the substrate. This provides more color options and better color rendering than white LEDs. The organic material is electrically conductive due to the delocalization of pi electrons caused by conjugation over all or part of the molecule. low-cost displays with a low driving voltage. plus copper and aluminium-doped zinc sulfide (ZnS:Cu.[82] . wide viewing angle.[75] The organic materials can be small organic molecules in a crystalline phase. OLEDs have been used to make visual displays for portable electronic devices such as cellphones. The phosphor-based white LEDs encapsulate InGaN blue LEDs inside phosphor coated epoxy. [76] Quantum dot LEDs (experimental) Quantum dots (QD) are semiconductor nanocrystals that possess unique optical properties.

A green surface-mount LED mounted on an Arduino circuit board Common package shapes include round. For instance. emergency lighting. two anode leads) for better heat conduction and carry an integrated lens. rectangular with a flat top (as used in bar-graph displays). with a domed or flat top. which could efficiently convert light from blue to any other color for many hundred hours.and twelve-volt LEDs are ordinary miniature LEDs that incorporate a suitable series resistor for direct connection to a 5 V or 12 V supply. An example of this is the Superflux package. The color of the plastic lens is often the same as the actual color of light emitted. The encapsulation may also be clear or tinted to improve contrast and viewing angle. The small size sets a natural upper boundary on power consumption due to heat caused by the high current density and need for a heat sink. Ultra-high-output — 20 mA at approximately 2 V or 4–5 V. designed for viewing in direct sunlight. They usually do not use a separate heat sink. they are able to handle higher currents (around 100 mA). and white. high power devices and custom designs such as alphanumeric or multi-color. Types LEDs are produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are three main categories of miniature single die LEDs: Low-current — typically rated for 2 mA at around 2 V (approximately 4 mW consumption).[84] Typical current ratings ranges from around 1 mA to above 20 mA. They sometimes have the diode mounted to four leads (two cathode leads. Five. and 20 mA at 4–5 V (approximately 100 mW) for blue. from Philips Lumileds. purple plastic is often used for infrared LEDs.[83] Miniature Different sized LEDs. These LEDs are most commonly used in light panels.[citation needed] In February 2011 scientists at PlasmaChem GmbH could synthesize quantum dots for LED applications and build a light converter on their basis. and green. 5 mm and 3 mm. orange. Standard — 20 mA LEDs at around 2 V (approximately 40 mW) for red.[citation needed] Such QDs can be used to emit visible or near infrared light of any wavelength being excited by light with a shorter wavelength. Due to the larger amount of metal in the LED. through-hole and surface mount packages.The major difficulty in using quantum dots-based LEDs is the insufficient stability of QDs under prolonged irradiation. and triangular or square with a flat top. High-power See also: Solid-state lighting and LED lamp . 8 mm. Modern high power LEDs such as those used for lighting and backlighting are generally found in surface-mount technology (SMT) packages. and automotive taillights. yellow. Mid-range Medium-power LEDs are often through-hole-mounted and used when an output of a few lumen is needed. violet. The main types of LEDs are miniature. and they come in various sizes from 2 mm to 8 mm. The higher current allows for the higher light output required for tail-lights and emergency lighting. but not always. (not shown). and most blue devices have clear housings. with a wooden match-stick for scale These are mostly single-die LEDs used as indicators.

and even fluorescent lights. and this is reversed during the next half-cycle. in general using a four-wire connection with one common lead (anode or cathode). A four-lead arrangement is typical with one common lead (anode or cathode) and an additional lead for each color. the HPLEDs must be mounted on a heat sink to allow for heat dissipation. Seven-segment LED displays were in widespread use in .g.[89] Application-specific variations Flashing LEDs are used as attention seeking indicators without requiring external electronics. Calculator LED display. As of September 2009. and blue emitters. For each half-cycle. so that they can be controlled independently. as LEDs grow more cost competitive. RGB LEDs are Tri-color LEDs with red. but more sophisticated devices can flash between multiple colors and even fade through a color sequence using RGB color mixing. part of the LED emits light and part is dark. some HPLEDs manufactured by Cree Inc. or be set in an array to form a powerful LED lamp. Some can emit over a thousand lumens. One HPLED can often replace an incandescent bulb in a flashlight. Seoul Semiconductor released a high DC voltage LED capable of being driven from AC power with a simple controlling circuit.[88] A large number of LED elements in series may be able to operate directly from line voltage. Lumileds) High-power LEDs (HPLED) can be driven at currents from hundreds of mA to more than an ampere. The efficacy of this type of HPLED is typically 40 lm/W. Most flashing LEDs emit light of one color. The low-power dissipation of these LEDs affords them more flexibility than the original AC LED design. now exceed 105 lm/W [87] (e. The other type consists of two dies with separate leads for both dies and another lead for common anode or cathode. have only two leads (positive and negative) and have a built in tiny electronic control unit. LEDs have been developed by Seoul Semiconductor that can operate on AC power without the need for a DC converter. There are two types of these. compared with the tens of mA for other LEDs. and current in the opposite direction emits the other color. green. Tri-color LEDs are three different LED emitters in one case. and Cree X-lamp.High-power light-emitting diodes (Luxeon. Each emitter is connected to a separate lead so they can be controlled independently.[85][86] Since overheating is destructive. 1970s Alphanumeric LED displays are available in seven-segment and starburst format. the XLamp XP-G LED chip emitting Cool White light) and are being sold in lamps intended to replace incandescent. Starburst displays can display all letters. Osram Opto Semiconductors Golden Dragon. These LEDs can have either common positive or common negative leads. halogen. Bi-color LEDs are two different LED emitters in one case. Others however. In diffused lens LEDs this is visible as a small black dot. Flashing LEDs resemble standard LEDs but they contain an integrated multivibrator circuit that causes the LED to flash with a typical period of one second. Some well-known HPLEDs in this category are the Lumileds Rebel Led. Seven-segment displays handle all numbers and a limited set of letters. Current flow in one direction emits one color. One type consists of two dies connected to the same two leads antiparallel to each other. the device will fail in seconds. If the heat from a HPLED is not removed. In 2009.

in that the current is dependent exponentially on the voltage (see Shockley diode equation). a large current flows and the LED may be damaged. in theory. However. A study published in 2011 states: "According to federal standards. Size: LEDs can be very small (smaller than 2 mm2[95]) and are easily populated onto printed circuit boards. regulatory limit: 5).[91] In general. the I/V curve of nitride-based LEDs is quite steep above the knee and gives an If of a few milliamperes at a Vf of 3 V. making it possible to power a nitride-based LED from a 3 V battery such as a coin cell without the need for a currentlimiting resistor. and so are classified as "Class 1 LED product"/"LED Klasse 1". limit: 2000). If the reverse current is sufficiently limited to avoid damage. Safety and health The vast majority of devices containing LEDs are "safe under all conditions of normal use". no current flows and no light is emitted if a small voltage is applied in the reverse direction. with their lower power needs and greater display flexibility. At present.[96] LEDs used in communications devices can have even faster response . nickel (up to 4797 mg/kg. unlike fluorescent light bulbs or tubes. A typical red indicator LED will achieve full brightness in under a microsecond. lead (up to 8103 mg/kg.[94] Their efficiency is not affected by shape and size. the current rating may be exceeded by a large amount. excessive levels of copper (up to 3892 mg/kg. The typical solution is to use constant-current power supplies. the reverse-conducting LED is a useful noise diode. which leached Pb [lead] at levels exceeding regulatory limits (186 mg/L.the 1970s and 1980s. If the maximum voltage rating is exceeded by a small amount. or driving the LED at a voltage much below the maximum rating. but rising use of liquid crystal displays. they may contain other hazardous metals such as lead and arsenic. limit: 2500). Color: LEDs can emit light of an intended color without using any color filters as traditional lighting methods need. has reduced the popularity of numeric and alphanumeric LED displays. [92] While LEDs have the advantage over fluorescent lamps that they do not contain mercury. LEDs are not hazardous except for low-intensity red LEDs. laser safety regulations—and the "Class 1". If the reverse voltage grows large enough to exceed the breakdown voltage. current flows easily from p-type to n-type material. or silver (up to 721 mg/kg. On/Off time: LEDs light up very quickly. Electrical polarity Main article: Electrical polarity of LEDs As with all diodes. most LED fixtures must include a power converter. cause temporary blindness. potentially damaging or destroying the LED. This is more efficient and can lower initial costs. However. according to California regulations.[90] However. system—also apply to LEDs."[93] Advantages Efficiency: LEDs emit more light per watt than incandescent light bulbs. etc. mains) are not constant-current sources. limit: 1000). limit: 500) render all except low-intensity yellow LEDs hazardous. Considerations for use Power sources Main article: LED power sources The current/voltage characteristic of an LED is similar to other diodes. This means that a small change in voltage can cause a large change in current. Since most common power sources (batteries. and so are classified as "Class 2". "Class 2". only a few LEDs—extremely bright LEDs that also have a tightly focused viewing angle of 8° or less—could.

[102] red surfaces being rendered particularly badly by typical phosphor-based cool-white LEDs. Shock resistance: LEDs.000–2. As of 2010. than most conventional lighting technologies. depending partly on the conditions of use. However. An adequate heat sink is needed to maintain long life. The price is expected to reach $2/kilolumen by 2015. Slow failure: LEDs mostly fail by dimming over time.2 degrees or less. Over-driving an LED in high ambient temperatures may result in overheating the LED package.[104][105] Blue pollution: Because cool-white LEDs with high color temperature emit proportionally more blue light than conventional outdoor light sources such as high-pressure sodium vapor lamps. and incandescent light bulbs at 1. LEDs will only light with correct electrical polarity. The spike at 460 nm and dip at 500 nm can cause the color of objects to be perceived differently under cool-white LED illumination than sunlight or incandescent sources. but rather a lambertian distribution. and military uses where devices must operate over a wide range of temperatures. on an initial capital cost basis. Disadvantages High initial price: LEDs are currently more expensive. This is especially important in automotive. LEDs radiate very little heat in the form of IR that can cause damage to sensitive objects or fabrics. unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. eventually leading to device failure. LEDs cannot provide divergence below a few degrees. Wasted energy is dispersed as heat through the base of the LED.[103] Electrical polarity: Unlike incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent and fluorescent sources often require an external reflector to collect light and direct it in a usable manner. This can involve series resistors or current-regulated power supplies. Dimming: LEDs can very easily be dimmed either by pulse-width modulation or lowering the forward current.[101] Light quality: Most cool-white LEDs have spectra that differ significantly from a black body radiator like the sun or an incandescent light. lasers can emit beams with divergences of 0. the strong wavelength dependence of Rayleigh scattering means that cool-white LEDs can cause more light pollution than other light sources. are difficult to damage with external shock.[106][not in citation given] Droop: The efficiency of LEDs tends to decrease as one increases current. Voltage sensitivity: LEDs must be supplied with the voltage above the threshold and a current below the rating. Focus: The solid package of the LED can be designed to focus its light.[99] Fluorescent tubes typically are rated at about 10. and need low failure rates. being solid-state components.[100] The additional expense partially stems from the relatively low lumen output and the drive circuitry and power supplies needed. Blue hazard: There is a concern that blue LEDs and cool-white LEDs are now capable of exceeding safe limits of the so-called blue-light hazard as defined in eye safety specifications such as ANSI/IESNA RP-27. So LEDs are difficult to apply to uses needing a spherical light field.000 hours of useful life.times.[97] Cool light: In contrast to most light sources. Temperature dependence: LED performance largely depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment.1–05: Recommended Practice for Photobiological Safety for Lamp and Lamp Systems. which illuminate regardless of the electrical polarity. Cycling: LEDs are ideal for uses subject to frequent on-off cycling.000 to 50. unlike fluorescent lamps that fail faster when cycled often.[107][43][108][109] . the cost per thousand lumens (kilolumen) was about $18.000 hours. In contrast. The International Dark-Sky Association discourages using white light sources with correlated color temperature above 3. rather than the abrupt failure of incandescent bulbs. the color rendering properties of common fluorescent lamps are often inferior to what is now available in state-of-art white LEDs.000 to 15. medical.000 hours. though time to complete failure may be longer. Area light source: Single LEDs do not approximate a point source of light giving a spherical light distribution. One report estimates 35. or HID lamps that require a long time before restarting.000 K.[98] Lifetime: LEDs can have a relatively long useful life. which are fragile. due to metamerism. price per lumen.

LED uses fall into four major categories: Visual signals where light goes more or less directly from the source to the human eye. due to a great reduction in the time needed to light fully. To encourage the shift to very high efficiency lighting. LEDs have been used in brake lights for cars' high-mounted brake lights. This gives drivers behind more time to react. throwies. Large-area LED displays are used as stadium displays and as dynamic decorative displays. low maintenance and small size of modern LEDs has led to uses as status indicators and displays on a variety of equipment and installations. Using LEDs has styling advantages because LEDs can form much thinner lights than incandescent lamps with parabolic reflectors. White LED headlamps are starting to be used. night time animal watching and military field use. Measuring and interacting with processes involving no human vision. all the LED products can be divided into two major parts. The use in brakes improves safety. or faster rise time.5 second faster than an incandescent bulb. as well as dedicated fixtures and LED lamps. it has become possible to use LEDs in lighting and illumination. Because of their long life and fast switching times. and ferries. the public lighting and indoor lighting. they are also used in many temporary uses such as glowsticks. they can create a phantom array. The Philips Lighting North America LED bulb won the . up to 0. and buses. Annex I and the CIE) and LED-based Christmas lights. In a dual intensity circuit (rear markers and brakes) if the LEDs are not pulsed at a fast enough frequency. LED traffic lights may remain snow covered. emergency vehicle lighting. orange for watches. this equals one car length equivalent in increased time to react. exit signs. but many vehicles now use LEDs for their rear light clusters. and the photonic textile Lumalive. practically all lighting was incandescent and fluorescent with the first fluorescent light only being commercially available after the 1939 World's Fair.Applications In general. submarine and ship bridges. and in the field. instead of emitting light. and yellow for advisories & statements whenever issued.[111] Red or yellow LEDs are used in indicator and alphanumeric displays in environments where night vision must be retained: aircraft cockpits.[citation needed] For more than 70 years. One-color light is well suited for traffic lights and signals. Illumination where light is reflected from objects to give visual response of these objects.g. and as destination displays for trains. Artists have also used LEDs for LED art. until the LED. Replacement light bulbs have been made. Due to the relative cheapness of low output LEDs. and in turn signals for some time. lightweight message displays are used at airports and railway stations. e. Weather/all-hazards radio receivers with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) have three LEDs: red for warnings. to convey a message or meaning.[110] Narrow band light sensors where LEDs operate in a reverse-bias mode and respond to incident light. ships' navigation lights or lanterns (chromacity and luminance standards being set under the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972. In cold climates. Indicators and signs Red and green traffic signals The low energy consumption. buses. where ghost images of the LED will appear if the eyes quickly scan across the array. astronomy observatories. trams. the US Department of Energy has created the L Prize competition. Lighting Main article: LED lamp With the development of high-efficiency and high-power LEDs. trucks. It is reported that at normal highway speeds. Thin.

reducing carbon dioxide emissions. which is already implemented in IrDA standards using infrared LEDs. LEDs are increasingly finding uses in medical and educational applications. and obstruction lighting. anemones. LEDs are also being used now in airport and heliport lighting.[113] LEDs are used in aviation lighting. motorcycles. architectural. LEDs are now used commonly in all market areas from commercial to home use: standard lighting. AV. exploiting LED versatility. they can be wireless transmitters and access points for data transport. theatrical. fish. taxiway centerline and edge lights. clams. Airbus has used LED lighting in their Airbus A320 Enhanced since 2007. where space is at a premium and bulky voltage-raising circuitry is undesirable. and wherever artificial light is used. This is especially useful in cameras on mobile phones. guidance signs. RGB LEDs raise the color gamut by as much as 45%. durable and need little power. Because LEDs can cycle on and off millions of times per second. low voltage. LEDbased aquarium fixtures also have the advantage of being manually adjustable to emit a specific color-spectrum for ideal coloration of corals. as well as medical lighting where IR-radiation can be harmful. The mechanical robustness and long lifetime is used in automotive lighting on cars. In energy conservation. and product testing.[112] LEDs are used as street lights and in other architectural lighting where color changing is used. LED fixtures typically cost up to five times as much as similarly rated fluorescent or high-intensity discharge lighting designed for reef aquariums and are not as high output to date. allows chroma keying in video productions. In 2007. and public installations. In particular for reef aquariums. LED airport fixtures currently include medium-intensity runway lights.first competition on August 3. and invertebrates while optimizing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).[114] LEDs are used increasingly in aquarium lights. the Italian village Torraca was the first place to convert its entire illumination system to LEDs. LEDs are small.[116] Lasers can also be modulated in . the lower heat output of LEDs also means air conditioning (cooling) systems have less heat to dispose of. and macroalgae. and bicycle lights. runway centerline lights. instead of the 250+ volts commonly found in xenon flashlamp-based lighting. and new technologies such as AmBX. A ring of LEDs around a video camera. NASA has even sponsored research for the use of LEDs to promote health for astronauts. stage. LED lights provide an efficient light source with less heat output to help maintain optimal aquarium temperatures. which raises growth and sustainability of photosynthetic life such as corals. aimed forward into a retroreflective background. LEDs are used for infrared illumination in night vision uses including security cameras. The lack of IR or heat radiation makes LEDs ideal for stage lights using banks of RGB LEDs that can easily change color and decrease heating from traditional stage lighting.[115] Smart lighting Light can be used to transmit broadband data. reflecting phases of the sun and moon for a dynamic reef experience. and Boeing plans its use in the 787. LED street lights are employed on poles and in parking garages. so they are used in hand held devices such as flashlights. These fixtures can be electronically programmed to simulate various lighting conditions throughout the day. lab. Screens for TV and computer displays can be made thinner using LEDs for backlighting. 2011 after successfully completing 18 months of intensive field. for example as mood enhancement[citation needed]. LEDs are also suitable for backlighting for LCD televisions and lightweight laptop displays and light source for DLP projectors (See LED TV). LED strobe lights or camera flashes operate at a safe.

Energy consumption In the US.this manner.[119] Assuming the average light bulb is on for 10 hours a day. A building’s carbon footprint from lighting can be reduced by 85% by exchanging all incandescent bulbs for new LEDs. one kilowatt-hour of electricity will cause 1. worse than standard incandescents. In 2009. Consumer use of LEDs as a replacement for conventional lighting system is currently hampered by the high cost and low efficiency of available products. Many sensor systems rely on light as the signal source. and LED Computers.[117] which is equivalent to a standard 40-watt incandescent bulb. This could be used in for example a touch-sensing screen that register reflected light from a finger or stylus. for example in optical computer mice. This include remote controls. LEDs are often ideal as a light source due to the requirements of the sensors. Touch sensing: Since LEDs can also be used as photodiodes. An optoisolator also allows information to be transferred between circuits not sharing a common ground potential.000 hours. emit less heat (can . The 6-watt LED equivalent will only cause 30 pounds (14 kg) of CO2 over the same time span. where infrared LEDs are often used. whereas an LED can continue to operate with reduced efficiency for more than 50. Further. such as for TVs. LEDs are used as movement sensors. as of 2011. Opto-isolators use an LED combined with a photodiode or phototransistor to provide a signal path with electrical isolation between two circuits.[120] Many materials and biological systems are sensitive to or dependent on light. 50 times longer than the incandescent bulb. which is key to the production process. The Nintendo Wii's sensor bar uses infrared LEDs. VCRs.34 pounds (610 g) of CO2 emission. there are LED bulbs available as efficient as 150 lm/W and even inexpensive low-end models typically exceed 50 lm/W. its sensors only need be monochromatic. Sustainable lighting Efficient lighting is needed for sustainable architecture. Other applications The light from LEDs can be modulated very quickly so they are used extensively in optical fiber and Free Space Optics communications. The high initial cost of commercial LED bulbs is due to the expensive sapphire substrate. Some flatbed scanners use arrays of RGB LEDs rather than the typical cold-cathode fluorescent lamp as the light source. The sapphire apparatus must be coupled with a mirror-like collector to reflect light that would otherwise be wasted.000 hours. and in LED printers. so that a 6-watt LED can easily achieve the same results. Grow lights use LEDs to increase photosynthesis in plants[121] and bacteria and viruses can be removed from water and other substances using UV LEDs for sterilization. Pulse oximeters use them for measuring oxygen saturation.[117] However. Having independent control of three illuminated colors allows the scanner to calibrate itself for more accurate color balance. Plant growers are interested in LEDs because they are more energy-efficient. a typical 13-watt LED lamp emitted 450 to 650 lumens. below that of typical CFLs. This is especially useful in medical equipment where the signals from a low-voltage sensor circuit (usually battery-powered) in contact with a living organism must be electrically isolated from any possible electrical failure in a recording or monitoring device operating at potentially dangerous voltages.[118] A standard 40-watt incandescent bulb has an expected lifespan of 1.[68] Other uses are as UV curing devices for some ink and coating methods. Economically sustainable LED light bulbs could be a cost-effective option for lighting a home or office space because of their very long lifetimes. LEDs have become more efficient. In 2011. since at any one time the page being scanned is only lit by one color of light. 2009 DOE testing results showed an average efficacy of 35 lm/W. and there is no need for warm-up. and as low as 9 lm/W. one 40-watt incandescent bulb will cause 196 pounds (89 kg) of CO2 emission per year. they can be used for both photo emission and detection.

low-cost lenses and diffusers. oil industries). and this is likely to remain one of their major uses until price drops low enough to make signaling and illumination uses more widespread. Nitride-based LEDs have a fairly steep I/V curve and are useless for this purpose. metalhalide (MH) or CFL/low-energy. beverage. Optical computer mice are also another example of LEDs in machine vision. and can provide the optimum light frequency for plant growth and bloom periods compared to currently used grow lights: HPS (high-pressure sodium). Barcode scanners are the most common example of machine vision. This is often used to obtain crisp and sharp “still” images of quickly moving parts.7 V for a normal red LED) can be used instead of a Zener diode in lowvoltage regulators. flat. Light sources for machine vision systems Machine vision systems often require bright and homogeneous illumination. filters. Although LED forward voltage is far more current-dependent than a good Zener. dome sources for diffused. as it is used to provide an even light source on the surface for the miniature camera within the mouse..) so that bright and homogeneous sources that direct light from tightly controlled directions on inspected parts can be designed. LED elements tend to be small and can be placed with high density over flat or even-shaped substrates (PCBs etc. the LED products will become cheaper. where different color may provide better visibility of features of interest. LEDs are often used for this purpose. ring lights for coaxial illumination. LEDs used on a train for both overhead lighting and destination signage.damage plants close to hot lamps). LEDs can be easily strobed (in the microsecond range and below) and synchronized with imaging. LEDs usually operate at comparatively low working temperatures. However. The forward voltage drop (e. Waterproof units can also easily be designed. LED sources can be shaped in several configurations (spot lights for reflective illumination. so features of interest are easier to process. and here the long service life of LEDs is a benefit. LEDs have not replaced these grow lights due to higher price. LEDs constitute a nearly ideal light source for machine vision systems for several reasons: The size of the illuminated field is usually comparatively small and machine vision systems are often quite expensive. A large LED display behind a disc jockey LED destination signs on buses. allowing use in harsh or wet environments (food. simplifying heat management and dissipation. omnidirectional illumination). and many low cost ones use red LEDs instead of lasers. one with a colored route number LED digital display that can display four digits and points Traffic light using LED . Zener diodes are not widely available below voltages of about 3 V. However. large format panels. LEDs have also been used as a medium-quality voltage reference in electronic circuits. linear assemblies.g. This can often be obtained with small. back lights for contour illumination. LEDs come in several different colors and wavelengths. Red LEDs have the flattest I/V curve above the knee. helping to achieve high light densities with control over lighting levels and homogeneity. High-power LEDs are available allowing well-lit images even with very short light pulses. and diffusers. Having a precisely known spectrum allows tightly matched filters to be used to separate informative bandwidth or to reduce disturbing effects of ambient light. As mass production and LED kits develop. This allows using plastic lenses. it might not be easy to replace a broken light source placed within complex machinery. allowing easy use of the best color for each need. about 1. so the cost of the light source is usually a minor concern.

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