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Luminous Efficacy
Energy efficiency of light sources is typically measured in lumens per watt (lm/W), meaning the amount of light produced for each watt of electricity consumed by the light source. This is know as
luminous efficacy. DOE’s long-term research and development goal calls for white-light LEDs producing 160 lm/W in cost-effective, market-ready systems by 2025. In the meantime, how does the luminous efficacy of today’s white LEDs compare to traditional light sources? Currently, the most efficacious white LEDs can perform similarly to fluorescent lamps. However, there are several important caveats:

The most efficacious LEDs have very high correlated color temperatures (CCTs), often above 5000K, producing a “cold” bluish light. However, warm white LEDs (2600K to 3500K) have improved significantly, now approaching the efficacy of CFLs. In addition to warmer appearance, LED color rendering is also improving: leading warm white LEDs are now available with color rendering index (CRI) of 80, equivalent to CFLs.

Fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) light sources cannot function without a ballast, which provides a starting voltage and limits electrical current to the lamp. LEDs also require supplementary electronics, usually called drivers. The driver converts line power to the appropriate voltage (typically between 2 and 4 volts DC for high-brightness LEDs) and current (generally 200-1000 milliamps or mA), and may also include dimming and/or color correction controls. Currently available LED drivers are typically about 85% efficient. So LED efficacy should be discounted by 15% to account for the driver. For a rough comparison, the range of luminous efficacies for traditional and LED sources, including ballast and driver losses as applicable, are shown below.

Light Source

Typical Luminous Efficacy Range in lm/W (Varies depending on wattage and lamp type)

Incandescent (no ballast) Halogen (no ballast) Compact Fluorescent (CFL) (incl. ballast) Linear Fluorescent (incl. ballast) Metal Halide (incl. ballst) Cool White LED (>6,000K) Warm White LED (2,600-3,700K)

10-18 15-20 35-60 50-100 50-90 80.6-107* 56.8-87.4*
* As of Feb 2009 CREE Xlamp XR-E LED

The luminous flux figures cited by LED manufacturers are based on an LED junction temperature (Tj) of 25°C. LEDs are tested during manufacturing under conditions that differ from actual operation in a fixture or system. In general, luminous flux is measured under instantaneous operation (perhaps a 20 millisecond pulse) in open air. Tj will always be higher when operated under constant current in a fixture or system. LEDs in a welldesigned luminaire with adequate heat sinking will produce 10%-15% less light than indicated by the “typical luminous flux” rating.

or luminaire frame elements. LEDs potentially have higher application efficiency than other light sources in certain lighting applications. multiply this figure by 85%. Power Conversion for "White" Light Sources Incandescent † (60W) Visible Light IR UV Total Radiant Energy Heat (Conduction + Convection) Total † IESNA Handbook ‡ Osram Sylvania * Varies depending on LED efficacy. or escapes from the fixture in a direction that is not useful for the intended application. and junction temperature (Tj).42 volts ) = 38 lm/W To include typical driver losses. Much of the light produced by the lamp is lost within the fixture. 8% 73% 0% 81% 19% 100% Fluorescent † (Typical linear CW) 21% 37% 0% 58% 42% 100% Metal Halide ‡ 27% 17% 19% 63% 37% 100% LED* 15-25% ~0% 0% 15-25% 75-85% 100% . so this is only a very rough approximation. it is not uncommon for 40-50% of the total light output of the lamp(s) to be lost before it exits the fixture. including recessed downlights. Because LED light output is sensitive to temperature. To compare LED sources to CFLs. Due to the directional nature of their light emission. ultraviolet (UV). The luminous efficacy of the LED source would be: 45 lumens / (0. This range represents best currently available technology in color temperatures from warm to cool. Fluorescent and metal halide sources convert a higher proportion of the energy into visible light. The table below shows the approximate proportions in which each watt of input power is converted to heat and radiant energy (including visible light) for various white light sources. Application Efficiency Luminous efficacy is an important indicator of energy efficiency. resulting in 32 lm/W. and under-cabinet fixtures. so welldesigned fixtures can deliver light more efficiently to the intended location. assume a device with typical flux of 45 lumens. test current (mA). for example. troffers. In this example. actual thermal performance depends on heat sink and fixture design. some manufactures recommend de-rating luminous flux by 10% to account for thermal effects. the most basic analysis should compare lamp-ballast efficacy to LED+driver efficacy in lumens per watt. Incandescent lamps emit primarily infrared (IR). housings. Accurate measurement can only be accomplished at the luminaire level. usually 25°C. and heat. but also emit IR.35 amps x 3. but convert only 15%-25% of the power into visible light. particularly with regard to directional light sources. For many fixture types. However. Fluorescent and standard “bulb” shaped incandescent lamps emit light in all directions.Comparing LEDs to Traditional Light Sources Energy efficiency proponents are accustomed to comparing ligth sources on the basis of luminous efficacy. To calculate lm/W. divide lumens by current times voltage. Comparison of Power Conversion of White Light Sources All light sources convert electric power into radiant energy and heat in various proportions. As an example. accounting for this thermal factor would result in a system efficacy of approximately 29 lm/W.42V. forward voltage (V). reducing the need tor reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. LEDs generate little or no IR or UV. the remainder is converted to heat that must be conducted from the LED die to the underlying circuit board and heat sinks. operated at 350 mA and voltage of 3. DOE’s SSL Multi-Year Program Plan (March 2006) calls for increasing extraction effciency to more than 50% by 2012. but it doesn’t tell the whole story. LEDs emit light in a specific direction. with a small amount of visible light. Data sheets for white LEDs from the leading manufacturers will generally provide “typical” luminous flux in lumens. reabsorbed by the lamp.

low-profile. In parking garages with low ceilings.very little heat given out Directional Light Emission . For many applications. depending on the application. The resulting device. can produce 30 to 150 lumens each. LED lighting starts with a tiny chip comprising layers of semi-conducting material. rather than spherically. Under-. . LOW PROFILE / COMPACT SIZE The small size and directional light emission of LEDs offer the potential for innovative. facility managers. and can be used separately or in arrays. fluorescent. and in-cabinet LED lighting can be very low-profile.performance improves in the cold Instant on . The LED parking structure light is only 6 inches high.lifetime not affected by frequent switching Controllability .LED ADVANTAGES Using LEDs to Their Best Advantage How do building owners. Special optics and reflectors can be used to make directional light sources. Even “large” LED fixtures producing thousands of lumens can be lower-profile than their HID counterparts. this reduces wasted light. However. or even a “light bulb” package. they emit light hemispherically.use only a small proportion of electricity compared to conventional lamps Cool to the Touch . while incandescent. typically around 7 to 9 mm on a side. this results in some portion of the light generated by the lamp being wasted. that six-inch difference can be valuable. LED devices are mounted on a circuit board and attached to a lighting fixture.compatible with electronic controls to change light levels and color characteristics No IR or UV Emissions . mounted on heat-conducting material and usually enclosed in a lens or encapsulant.LEDs intended for lighting do not emit infrared or ultraviolet radiation WHAT MAKES LEDs DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LIGHT SOURCES? LEDs are semiconductor devices. with fill gases and coatings of various types. but they cause light losses. General illumination applications that may most benefit from the LED attributes including the following: Undercabinet lighting In-cabinet accent lighting Adjustable task lighting Refrigerated case lighting Outdoor area lighting Elevator lighting Recessed downlights Accent lights Step and path lighting Cove lighting Spaces with occupancy sensors Food preparation areas Retail display cases Art display lighting DIRECTIONAL LIGHT EMISSION Traditional light sources emit light in all directions. For task lighting and other directional applications. Here are some unique LED characteristics: Energy Saving .no breakable glass or filaments Cold Temperature Operation . LED packages may contain just one chip or multiple chips. For directed light applications with lower luminous flux requirements. the low profile benefit of LEDs can be exploited to a greated extent.unobtrusively to the cabinetry. architectural structure. and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps are all based on glass enclosures containing a filament or electrodes. To produce illuminance levels equivalent to high output traditional luminaires requires grouping multiple LEDs.directing light where it is needed Size Advantage . compared to a common metal halide parking garage fixture almost 12 inches high. over-.can be very compact and low-profile Breakage Resistance . achieving a low-profile requires careful design. compact lighting design. Because LEDs are mounted on a flat surface. each of which increases the heat sinking needed to maintain light output and useful life. in some cases little more than the LED devices on a circuit board attached . and lighting specifiers choose lighting products? Purchase price and operating costs (energy and maintenance) are usually the top concerns but a host of other aspects may come into play.require no “warm up” time Rapid Cycling Capability .

In incandescent lamps. usually for 10-20 minutes. LED devices mounted on a circuit board are connected with soldered leads that may be vulnerable to direct impact. LEDs. if turned off they must be allowed to cool down before turning on again. higher voltage is required to start fluorescent lamps. LED performance inherently increases as operating temperatures drop. with the final break (causing the lamp to “burn out”) usually occuring as the lamp is switched on and the electric current rushes through the weakened filament. HID lamps also have long warm up times and are unable to re-start until cooled off. from several minutes for metal halide to 10 minutes or more for sodium lamps. such as children’s rooms. This makes LEDs a natural fit for grocery store refrigerated and freezer cases. compared to non-amalgam lamps. A non-amalgam CFL. such as sports facilities or where vandalism is likely. This characteristic of LEDs is notable in vehicle brake lights. The trade-off is that amalgam lamps have a noticeably longer “run-up” time to full brightness. In general illumination applications. elevators and escalators. will drop to 50% of full light output at 0°C. In addition to flashing light displays. LED’s inherent vibration resistance may be beneficial in applications such as transportation (planes. RAPID CYCLING Traditional light sources will burn out sooner if switched on and off frequently. HID lamps also have a “re-strike” time delay. and outdoor applications. LED devices usually do not use any glass. and specialized vibration-resistant lamps are needed in applications with excessive vibration. Standard incandescent and discharge lamps may be affected by vibration when operated in vehicular and industrial applications. In fact. this rapid cycling capability makes LEDs well-suited to use with occupancy sensors or daylight sensors. with no restrike delay. In contrast. linear fluorescent lamps are rated for different expected lifetimes. do not provide full brightness immediately upon being turned on. Newer pulse-start HID ballasts provide faster restrike times of 2-8 minutes. handling. the tungsten filament degrades with each hour of operation. DOE testing of an LED refrigerated case light measured 5% higher efficacy at -5°C. for example. cold storage facilities. compared to operation at 25°C. depending on the on-off frequency. and ceiling fan light kits. storage. In fact. turned on and left on for 12 hours) compared to shorter cycles. . LED durability may provide added value in applications where broken lamps present a hazard to occupants. in contrast. come on at full brightness almost instantly. and luminous flux is decreased. where they come on 170-200 milliseconds faster than standard incandescent lamps. assisted living facilities. HID lamps have longer warm up times. In fluorescent and HID lamps. Product breakage is a fact of life in electric lamp transport. achieving longer total operating hours on 12-hour starts (i. LED life and lumen maintenance is unaffected by rapid cycling. The use of amalgam (an alloy of mercury and other metals. and installation. but no more so than cell phones and other electronic devices. providing an estimated 19 feet of additional stopping distance at highway speeds (65 mph).BREAKAGE RESISTANCE LEDs are largely impervious to vibration because they do not have filaments or glass enclosures. allowing the CFL to maintain light output over a wide temperature range (-17°C to 65°C). trains. Fluorescents using amalgam can take three minutes or more to reach their full light output. the high starting voltage erodes the emitter material coating the electrodes.. At low temperatures. or food preparation industries. used to stabilize and control mercury pressure in the lamp) in CFLs largely addressed this problem. COLD TEMPERATURE OPERATION Cold temperatures present a challenge for fluorescent lamps. so rapid cycling is not an option. INSTANT ON Fluorescent lamps. automobiles). instant on can be desirable for safety and convenience.e. LED light fixtures may be especially appropriate in applications with a high likelihood of lamp breakage. especially those containing amalgam. Traditional light sources are all based on glass or quartz envelopes. lighting on and near industrial equipment.

requiring special shielding and diffusing to avoid occupant exposure. NO INFRARED OR ULTRAVIOLET EMISSIONS Incandescent lamps convert most of the power they draw into infrared (IR) or radiated heat. Lighting Answers: LED Lighting Systems. and integration with occupancy and photoelectric controls offer potential for increased energy efficiency and user satisfaction. color control. Further. this is expected to be an area of great innovation in lighting.000 hours? It depends on LED quality. and fabrics. 2003. Dimming.000 hour life. Dimming of commercial (specification) grade fluorescent systems is readily available and effective. not all LED devices are compatible with all dimmers. Current high quality fluorescent lamps using rare earth phosphors will lose only 5-10% of initial lumens at 20. system design. The causes of lumen depreciation in incandescent lamps are depletion of the filament over time and the accumulation of evaporated tungsten particles on the bulb wall. 100W Incandescent 50W Tungston Halogen 400W Metal Halide 42W CFL 32W T8 Fluorescent 5-mm LED High-Power LED 15000 20000 .000 hours of operation. defined as the decrease in lumen output that occurs as a lamp is operated. LEDs emit virtually no IR. around 20%. Lighting Research Center. Unlike incandescent lamps. dimming is more problematic. so manufacturer guidelines should be followed. HID lamps can emit significant ultraviolet radiation (UV). Troy.000 hours or even 100. but higher quality models generally lose no more than 20% of initial lumens over their 10. and also contain toxic mercury. Lumen Depreciation All types of electric light sources experience lumen depreciation. LEDs may offer potential benefits in terms of controlling light levels (dimming) and color appearance. less than 10% of the power they use is actually converted to visible light. only CFLs with a dimming ballast may be operated on a dimming circuit. Renssolaer Polytechnic Institute.000 hour life of an incandescent lamp. However. Typical Lumen Maintenance Values for Various Light Source 100% lumen maintenance (%) 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 0 5000 10000 operating time (hr) Source: Adapted from Bullough. Specific lamp lumen depreciation curves are provided by the lamp manufacturers. As LED driver and control technology continues to evolve. For CFLs used in residential applications. Do they really last 50. which are universally dimmable with inexpensive controls. NY. Excessive heat (IR) from lighting presents a burn hazard to people and materials. operating environment. USEFUL LIFE OF (WHITE) LED One of the main “selling points” of LEDs is their potentially very long life. UV. or mercury.CONTROLLABILITY AND TUNABILITY Traditional. and other factors. and the accumulation of light-absorbing deposits within the lamp over time. UV is extremely damaging to artwork. the causes of lumen depreciation are photochemical degradation of the phosphor coating and the glass tube. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) experience higher lumen depreciation compared to linear sources. National Lighting Product Information Program. artifacts. Often CFLs will dim down to about 30% of full light output. efficient light sources (fluorescent and HID) present a number of challenges with regard to lighting controls. although at a substantial price premium. JD. CFLs usually do not have a continuous (1% to 100% light output) dimming range like incandescents. This typically results in 10% to 15% depreciation compared to initial lumen output over the 1. and can cause skin and eye burns in people exposed to unshielded sources. Fluorescent lamps convert a higher proportion of power into visible light. In fluorescent lamps.

For some applications. particularly if the reduction is gradual. Electrical and thermal design of the LED system or fixture determine how long LEDs will last and how much light they will provide. the LED’s light output slowly declines over time. a level higher than 70% may be required. Newer high-power LED devices use silicone as an encapsulant. The proposed method is based on the idea of “useful life. a group led by the lighting Research Center (LRC). For example.000 hour lamps. With fluorescent lamps. At what point is the light level no longer meeting the needs of the application? The answer may differ depending on the application of the product.” i.Lumen depreciation in LEDs varies depending on package and system design. If the LED system design has inadequate heat sinking or other means of removing the heat. stating that their white LEDs “are projected” to have lumen maintenance of greater than 70% on average after 50. The life testing procedure for compact fluorescent lamps. This makes it easy to recognize the end of life for an incandescent light source. which prevents this problem. so the heat must be removed from the device by conduction or convection. for example. For 10. It calls for a statistically valid sample of lamps to be tested at an ambient temperature of 25 degrees Celsius using an operating cycle of 3 hours ON and 20 minutes OFF. Based on this research. How are LED lifetimes rated? Life testing for LEDs is impractical due to the long expected lifetimes. LEDs continue to operate even after their light output has decreased to very low levels. outright failure of the device is less likely. The leading LED manufacturers have begun using the L70 language. Useful life would be stated as the average number of hours that the LED would operate before depreciating to 0% of initial lumens. end of life may involve flickering or the lamp may simply not activate when the switch is turned on. products would be obsolete by the time they finished life testing. research has shown that the majority of occupants in a space will accept light level reductions of up to 30% with little notice. Because the technology continues to develop and evolve so quickly. With LEDs.7 years.e. the device temperature will rise. this process takes about 15 months. testing an LED for 50. Operating the LED at higher than design temperature will also decrease useful life significantly.. Defining LED Useful Life To provide an appropriate measure of useful life of an LED. A life testing procedure for LEDs is currently under development by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). the operating time in hours at which the device’s light output has declined to a level deemed to no longer meet the needs of the application. a level of acceptable lumen depreciation must be chosen.000 hours when used in accordance with published guidelines. Clouding of the epoxy encapsulant used to cover some LED chips also results in decreased lumens making it out of the device. Driving the LED at higher than rated current will increase relative light output but decrease useful life. This becomes the important factor in determining the effective useful life of the LED. the Alliance for Solid State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST). The lifetimes of traditional light sources are rated through established test procedures. Measuring Light Source Life We’ve all heard the small “pop” as an incandescent lamp fails. the level might be set at 70% of initial lumens. . Instead. But even with 24/7 operation. LEDs do not emit heat as infrared radiation (IR) like other light sources. The point at which half the lamps in the sample have failed is the rated average life for that lamp. It’s the sound of the tungsten filament finally breaking as the electric current hits it. The primary cause of lumen depreciation is heat generated at the LED junction. although it can happen due to component failure. resulting in lower light output. For a common application such as general lighting in an office environment. Therefore a level of 70% of initial light level could be considered an appropriate threshold of useful life for general lighting. Switching is not a determining factor in LED life. so there is no need for the on-off cycling used with other light sources. for general ambient lighting. is published by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) as LM-65.000 hours would take 5. recommends defining useful life as the point at which light output has declined to 70% of initial lumens (abbreviated as L70) for general lighting and 50% (L50) for LEDs used for decorative purposes.

and ambient temperature. and some form of external heat sink.000 7. In general. thermal path.500-20. The size of the heat sink is dependent upon the amount of heat to be dissipated and the material’s thermal properties. the higher the drive current.000-30. The typical high-flux LED systems is comprised of an emitter. life. optics.000-50. The amount of heat that can be removed depends upon the ambient temperature and the design of the thermal path from the die to the surroundings. Heat management and an awareness of the operating environment are critical considerations to the design and application of LED luminaires for general illumination. The emitter houses the die.000 8.000 3. the chassis of the luminaire itself.000 20. encapsulant. the greater the heat generated at the die. in some cases. Heat must be moved away from the die in order to maintain expected light output.How do the lifetime projections for LEDs compare to traditional light sources? Light Source Incandescent Halogen Incandescent Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Metal Halide Linear Fluorescent High-Power White LED *Source: lamp manufacturer data. The MCPCB is then mechanically attached to an external heat sink which can be a dedicated device integrated into the design of the luminaire or. Range of Typical Rated Life (hours)* (varies by specific lamp type) 750-2.000-10. and color. The MCPCB is a special form of circuit board with a dielectric layer (non-conductor of current) bonded to a metal substrate (usually aluminum).000 POWER LED THERMAL MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS What Determines Junction Temperature? These things affect the junction temperature of an LED: drive current. a metal-core printed circuit board (MCPCB).000 Estimated Useful Life (L70) 35. Successful products will use superior heat sink designs to dissipate heat and minimize Tj.000-4. keeping the Tj as low as possible and within manufacturer specifications is necessary in order to maximize the performance potential of LEDs. . and heat sink slug (used to draw heat away from the die) and is soldered to the MCPCB.

Why Does Thermal Management Matter? Excess heat directly affects both short-term and long-term LED performance. High operating temperatures at the LED junction adversely affect the performance of LEDs. resulting in decreased output and lifetime. the industry continues to improve the durability of LEDs at higher operating temperatures. the optical wavelength can shift. When designing lighting systems using LEDs. Consequently. In resistor driven circuits. The light output of different colored LEDs responds differently to temperature changes. (See graph below) The increasing wavelength can cause orange LED lights to appear red or even white LED lights to appear bluish. thermal management of high power LEDs is extremely crucial for proper operation and extended life. This color shift typically intensifies with the AlInGaP technologies (red. amber. and the reduction in light output for products with inadequate thermal design can be significantly higher. with the 11°C temperature increase. and yellow). However. Optimal heat dissipating material and package method should be well designed to fit the growing power needs.000 hours. As the LED lights temperature continues to rise. The decreasing voltage can impose an increased load on related LED driver components causing their temperature to increase as well. The chart below shows the light output over time (experimental data to 10. orange. the forward current will increase. The majority of LED failure mechanisms are temperature-dependent. LED manufacturers test and sort (or “bin”) their products for luminous flux and color based on a 15-20 millisecond power pulse.000 hours to ~ 16. a 57% reduction. Elevated junction temperatures cause light output reduction and accelerated chip degradation. Estimated useful life (defined as 70% of initial lumen output) decreased from ~37. Continuous operation at elevated temperature dramatically accelerates lumen depreciation resulting in shortened useful life. Tj is typically 60°C or greater. The forward voltage will begin to decrease. with amber and red the most sensitive. Therefore white LEDs will provide at least 10% less light than the manufacturer’s rating. and blue the least. As the LED heat escalates.000 hours and extrapolation beyond) for two identical LEDs driven at the same current but with an 11°C difference in Tj. one of the most critical design parameters should be the system’s ability to draw heat away from the LED junction. The short-term (reversible) effects are color shift and reduced light output while the long-term effect is accelerated lumen depreciation and thus shortened useful life. several key characteristics may become apparent. Under constant current operation at room temperatures and with engineered heat mitigation mechanisms. which demonstrate the importance of LED thermal management. at a fixed Tj of 25°C (77°F). .

starting from filament to the glass and ending with the thermal resistance from glass to the atmosphere.Typical LED package including thermal management design Typical thermal model of LED Heat Transfer Procedure In order to maintain a low junction temperature to keep good performance of an LED. convection. and the heat sink diffuses heat to the ambient surroundings by convection. we have the equation as follows: Tj=TA + (RJA x PLED). The ambient temperature is modeled as a voltage source. applied mounting pressure. we can also add one thermal resistance convection to the thermal model at the end of the heat transmission path. depending on the LED manufacturer.6°C/W to 18°C/W. which will be attached to a heat sink. To maximize the useful ambient temperature range for a given power dissipation. The thermal resistance between two points is defined as the ratio of the difference in temperature to the power dissipated. A typical LED side view and its thermal model are shown in the above figures. the thermal resistance is governed by the package design. The total power dissipated by the LED (PLED) is the product of the forward voltage and the forward current of the LED. Heat flows from the LED junction through the MCPCB to the heat sink by way of conduction. and radiation are the three means of heat transfer. From the LED junction to the thermal contact at the bottom of package. which can be modeled as a current source. Common TIMs are epoxy. the type of interface material and its thickness are all important parameters to thermal resistance design. and RJA=RJC + RCB + RTIM + RH Intuitively. thermal grease. From junction to solder point. Nearly all heat produced is conducted through the back side of the chip. LEDs are encapsulated in a transparent resin. Passive Thermal Designs Here below lists some considerations for passive thermal designs to ensure good thermal management for high power LED operation. The thermal interface material’s (TIM) thermal resistance will also vary depending on the type of material selected. Different components in the heat conduction path can be modeled as different thermal resistances. In the most cases. heat is also transmitted through conduction. By “thermic Ohm’s Law”. the unit is °C/W. For example. It is referred to as the thermal resistance between junction and ambient (RJA). power LEDs will be mounted on metal-core printed circuit boards (MCPCB). which is a poor thermal conductor. Typically. the surface flatness and quality of each component. In LEDs. Conduction. The values for the thermal resistance vary widely depending on the material or component supplier. . the junction temperature (Tj) is the sum of the ambient temperature (TA) and the product of the thermal resistance from junction to ambient and the power dissipated. the total thermal resistance from juction to ambient must be minimized. heat is generated from the PN junction and conducted to outside ambience through a long and extensive path. contact area. Therefore. RJC will range from 2. pressure sensitive adhesive and solder. you can see that the junction temperature will be lower if the thermal impedance is smaller and likewise. The heat path of tungsten light bulbs is almost all straight into the atmosphere. solder point to board. Thus. In the package design. every method of releasing heat from LEDs should be considered. with a lower ambient temperature. So. and board to the heat sink and then to the atmosphere.

Heat Sink Heat sinks provide a path for heat from the LED source to outside medium. Commercially. where about one-third of the heat is dissipated by radiation. convection (heat transfer from a solid to a moving fluid. especially at higher temperatures.MCPCB (Metal Core PCB) are those boards which incorporate a base metal material as heat spreader as an integral part of the circuit board. Separation . Thermal conductive glue or sticky tape should only be used in situations where mounting with clips or screws is not possible. and board and heat sinks. The flip-chip joint can be eutectic. lead-free solder or gold stub. . The material normally used for heat sink construction is aluminum.Material selection of heat sinks directly affects the dissipation efficiency through conduction. Consequently. unpainted one.Adhesive Adhesive is commonly used to bond LED and board. Heat sinks can dissipate power in three ways: conduction (heat transfer from one solid to another). high-lead. anodizing or etching will also decreases the thermal resistance. Using a thermal conductive adhesive can further optimize the thermal performance.thermal transfer takes place at the surface of the heat sink. The effect is most remarkable with flat-plate heat sinks. which is usually silicon or ceramic. Therefore. Shape . PCB (Printed Circuit Board) MCPCB . Mounting method . On the other hand. Furthermore MCPCB can take advantage of incorporating a dielectric polymer layer with high thermal conductivity for lower thermal resistance. and there is usually a build-in reflective layer between the light emitter and the solder joints to reflect the light emitted downwards up. The metal core usually consists of aluminum alloy. although copper may be used with an advantage for flat-sheet heat sinks. Package Type Flip chip .The concept is similar to flip-chip in package configuration widely used in the silicon integrated circuit industry.Separate the LED drive circuitry from the LED board so that the heat generated by the driver will not contribute to the LED junction temp. Briefly speaking. The primary source of light comes from the backside of the LED chip.Thermal radiation of heat sinks is a function of surface finish. Moreover. heat sinks should be designed to have a large surface area.Heat-sink mountings with screws or springs are often better than regular clips. for most LED applications the fluid will be air). several companies have adopted the flip-chip based approach to package their high-power LED. a perfectly flat contact area allows the use of a thinner layer of thermal compound. About 60% reduction in the thermal resistance of the LED is achieved while keeping its thermal reliability. This goal can be reached by using a large number of fine fins or by increasing the size of the heat sink itself. material with higher thermal conductivity of desired. the LED die is assembled face down on the sub-mount. A painted surface will have a greater emissivity than a bright. or radiation (heat transfer from two bodies of different surface temperatures through electromagnetic waves). acting as heat spreader and supporting substrate. Material . which will reduce the thermal resistance between the heat sink and LED source. Surface Finish .