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TITLE/NAME Written Assignment – Light Emitting Diode (LED)
DATE 20/3/2018/ - 13/4/2018
COURSE OUTCOME(S) CLO 1: Explain the construction, operation and applications of diodes. (P2)




The Light emitting diode is a two-lead semiconductor light source. In 1962, Nick Holonyak
was working for the general electric company has come up with an idea of light emitting
diode. The LED is a special type of diode and they have similar electrical characteristics of a
PN junction diode. Hence the LED allows the flow of current in the forward direction and
blocks the current in the reverse direction. The LED occupies the small area which is less
than the 1 mm².
The lighting emitting diode is a p-n junction diode. It is a specially doped diode and made up
of a special type of semiconductors. When the light emits in the forward biased, then it is
called as a light emitting diode.

Light Emitting Diode

The light emitting diode simply, we know as a diode. The electrons & holes are moving fast
across the junction and they are combining constantly, removing one another out when the
diode is forward biased. Soon after the electrons are moving from the n-type to the p-type
silicon, it combines with the holes, then it disappears. Thus it makes the complete atom &
more stable and it gives the little burst of energy in the form of a tiny packet or photon of
Working of Light Emitting Diode

The above diagram shows how the light emitting diode works and the step by step process
of the diagram.

 We can see that the N-type silicon is in red color and it includes the electrons, they
are indicated by the black circles.

 The P- type silicon is in the blue color and it holds holes, they are indicated by the
white circles.

 The power supply across the p-n junction makes the diode forward biased and
pushing the electrons from n-type to p-type. Pushing the holes in the opposite

 Electron and holes at the junction are combined.

 The photons are given off as the electrons and holes are recombined.

Types of Light Emitting Diodes

There are different types of light emitting diodes present and some of them are mentioned

 Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) – infra-red

 Gallium Arsenide Phosphide (GaAsP) – red to infra-red, orange

 Aluminium Gallium Arsenide Phosphide (AlGaAsP) – high-brightness red, orange-

red, orange, and yellow

 Gallium Phosphide (GaP) – red, yellow and green

 Aluminium Gallium Phosphide (AlGaP) – green

 Gallium Nitride (GaN) – green, emerald green

 Gallium Indium Nitride (GaInN) – near ultraviolet, bluish-green and blue

 Silicon Carbide (SiC) – blue as a substrate

 Zinc Selenide (ZnSe) – blue

 Aluminium Gallium Nitride (AlGaN) – ultraviolet

Operating Principles

The working principle of the Light emitting diode is based on the quantum theory. The
quantum theory says that when the electron comes down from the higher energy level to the
lower energy level then, the energy emits from the photon. The photon energy is equal to the
energy gap between these two energy levels. So, the current flows through the diode if the
PN-junction diode is in the forward biased.

The both flow of free electrons in the opposite direction of current and flow of electrons in the
direction of the current lead to the flow of current in the semiconductors. Hence there will be
recombination due to the flow of these charge carriers.

The recombination indicates that the electrons in the conduction band jump down to the
valence band. When the electrons jump from one band to another band the electrons will
emit the electromagnetic energy in the form of photons and the photon energy is equal to the
forbidden energy gap.
For an example, let us consider the quantum theory, the energy of the photon is the product
of both Planck constant and frequency of electromagnetic radiation. The mathematical
equation is shown

Eq = hf

Where h is known as a Planck constant, and the velocity of electromagnetic radiation is

equal to the speed of light i.e c. The frequency radiation is related to the velocity of light as a
f= c / λ. λ is denoted as a wavelength of an electromagnetic radiation and the above
equation will become as a

Eq = he / λ

From the above equation, we can say that the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation is
inversely proportional to the forbidden gap. In general silicon, germanium semiconductors
this forbidden energy gap is between the condition and valence bands are such that the total
radiation of electromagnetic wave during recombination is in the form of the infrared
radiation. We can’t see the wavelength of infrared because they are out of our visible range.

The infrared radiation is said to be as a heat because the silicon and the germanium
semiconductors are not direct gap semiconductors rather these are indirect gap
semiconductors. But in the direct gap semiconductors, the maximum energy level of the
valence band and minimum energy level of conduction band does not occur at the same
moment of electrons. Therefore, during the recombination of electrons and holes are a
migration of electrons from the conduction band to valence band the momentum of electron
band will be changed.

I-V Characteristics of LED

There are different types of light emitting diodes are available in the market and there are
different LED characteristics which include the color light, or wavelength radiation, light
intensity. The important characteristic of the LED is color. In the starting use of LED, there is
the only red color. As the use of LED is increased with the help of the semiconductor process
and doing the research on the new metals for LED, the different colors were formed.
I-V Characteristics of LED

The following graph shows the approximate curves between the forward voltage and the
current. Each curve in the graph indicates the different color.

The table shows the summary of the LED characteristics.

Characteristics of LED

a) Use of LEDs in Display device

LED Display (light-emitting diode display) is a screen display technology that uses a panel of
LEDs as the light source. Currently, a large number of electronic devices, both small and
large, use LED display as a screen and as an interaction medium between the user and the
system. Modern electronic devices such as mobile phones, TVs, tablets, computer monitors,
laptops screens, etc., use a LED display to display their output.

Example: LED Television

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) TVs are basically LCDs only. The difference is that the lamp
behind the screen that was used to illuminate the fluorescent display in LCD is replaced by
small LEDs. The working of the TV remains the same, but due to the use of LEDs the screen
is much slimmer in size, power efficient and can yield a true black effect to a much greater

b) Use of an LED as a power-level indicator

This application which can show whether a power level indicator circuit, if the voltage into a
circuit is greater than a certain level. If it show greater than a certain level, an output like we
use a LED can light up as an indicator of the power level. Zener diode is to be use as power
level indicator. The type that will use is the 1N4733 zener diode. It has a breakdown voltage
of 5.1V.
A zener diode has a function to break downs when a certain voltage level is reached and
conducts current when it is connected reverse biased in a circuit. If it connected as forward
biased it will function as PN-Junction diode. If a zener diode has a breakdown voltage of
5.1V when the greater voltage is applied to it, it will conduct current across LED and the LED
will light up.
In this circuit also use resistor which limit the current through the LED. The resistor that will
use is 220Ω resistor.

Components Needed
a) 1N4733 5.1V Zener Diode

b) 220Ω resistor

c) LED
Place the zener diode after that comes with the resistor and the LED like in the picture. The
zener diode must be in the condition of reverse biased so that it will function like we want.
As stated, the zener diode breaks down when the voltage is above 5.1V and allow the
current conduct through it. When the current pass by the zener diode, the current value will
be limit by the resistor and after that the current will make the LED light up. If the voltage
does not exceed 5.1V the LED will not light up.
This show us that when LED is light up. It means the voltage is exceed from a certain value.
We can use many zener diode with variety of breakdown voltage value as power level
indicator in one circuit like example in the diagram below.
c) Use of LEDs in multi-segment displays

Due to LEDs small sizes, several of them can be connected together within one small and
compact package that is called 7-segment Displays. The 7-segment Displays consists of 7
LEDs arranged in rectangular shape. Each of the seven LEDs is called a segment because
when lighted up, the segment forms part of a numerical digit (decimal and hex). An
additional 8th LED is sometimes used within the same package to indicate a decimal point
(DP), when two or more 7-segment Displays are connected together to display numbers
greater than ten. The appropriate pins (labelled ‘a’ to ‘g’) of the LED segments were forward
biased in a particular order, some segments will be light and others will be dark allowing the
desired character pattern of the number to be generated on the display. This then allows us
to display each of the ten decimal digits 0 to 9 on the same 7-segment Displays.

Each LED has two connecting pins, the “Anode” and the “Cathode”. Therefore two types of
LED 7-segment Displays called: Common Cathode (CC) and Common Anode (CA).
1. Common Cathode (CC)
 In the common cathode display, all the cathode connections of the LED
segments are joined together to logic “0” or ground. The individual segments
are lighted up by application of a “HIGH”, or logic “1” signal via a current
limiting resistor to forward bias the individual Anode terminals (‘a’ to ‘g’).
2. Common Anode (CA)
 In the common anode display, all the anode connections of the LED
segments are joined together to logic “1”. The individual segments are lighted
up by applying a ground, logic “0” or “LOW” signal via a suitable current
limiting resistor to the Cathode of the particular segment (‘a’ to ‘g’).

7-segments Displays segments for all numbers.

7-segments Displays truth table.

- We can produce a truth table giving the individual segments that need to be lighted
up in order to produce the required decimal digit from 0 through 9.

Decimal Individual segments to be lighted up

a b c d e f g
0 x x x x x x
1 x x
2 x x x x x
3 x x x x x
4 x x x x
5 x x x x x
6 x x x x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x x x x x
9 x x x x x
Related important information about LEDs

1. Current limiting resistor.

 A current limiting resistor is a resistor that is used to reduce the current in a
circuit. A simple example is a resistor connected in series with LED so that it can
control the amount of current flow through the LED.

2. LED driving circuit.

 Driving an LED using transistor.
- LEDs can be driven by using discrete components such as PNP and NPN
transistors. This discrete components can be used in driving more than one LED as
in large LED array structures. Junction transistors are used to drive current across
the multiple LEDs so that the forward current driven by LED is about 10 – 20 mA. If
NPN transistor is used in driving the LED then the series resistor acts as a current
source. If PNP transistor is used in driving LEDs then the series resistor acts as a
current sink.
- Its applications include backlighting array of screen, street lights or as a replacement
for fluorescent lamp or incandescent lamp. Most of the applications require more
than one LED.


In conclusion, although Light-Emitting Diode (LED) is just a light component, but its
function beyond than that because it can use in many concept and ways. Example, we can
use in application as display devices, power-level indicator and multi-segment display. LED
is one of the important component, most commonly wide use in the world and in our daily
life. This component is one of the best quality because it have so many advantages to the
user. From the experiment conduct by expertise, LED is a biosafety and non-hazardous
component to environmental. One of the toughest component also is LED. As we can see,
LED is widely use in industries because of it difficult to damage. Although LED is expensive
than the conventional lightning technologies, considering the cost including the energy and
maintenance it will be more save cost rather than the conventional lightning. To sum the
thing up, LED is one of the most great technology ever created and it will contribute to
development of technology as it been a basic component.