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Discoveries and early devices
Electroluminescence 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. Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev independently reported on the creation of an LED in 1927. His research was distributed in Russian, German and British scientific journals, but no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades. Rubin Braunstein of the Radio Corporation of America reported on infrared emission from gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor alloys in 1955. 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, 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. Holonyak is seen as the "father of the light-emitting diode". M. George Craford, 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. 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 transmission wavelengths. Until 1968, visible and infrared LEDs were extremely costly, on the order of US $200 per unit, and so had little practical use. The Monsanto Company was the first organization to mass-produce visible LEDs, using gallium arsenide phosphide in 1968 to produce red LEDs suitable for indicators. Hewlett Packard (HP) introduced LEDs in 1968, initially using GaAsP supplied by Monsanto. The technology proved to have major uses for alphanumeric displays and was integrated into HP's early handheld calculators. In the 1970s commercially successful LED devices at under five cents each were produced by Fairchild Optoelectronics. These devices employed compound semiconductor chips fabricated with the planar process invented by Dr. Jean Hoerni at Fairchild Semiconductor. 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. These methods continue to be used by LED producers.
Red, yellow and green (unlit) LEDs used in a traffic signal in Sweden. The first commercial LEDs were commonly used as replacements for incandescent and neon indicator lamps, and in seven-segment displays, first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment, then later in such appliances as TVs, radios, telephones, calculators, and even watches (see list of signal uses). These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators, as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area. Readouts in calculators were so small that plastic lenses were built over each digit to make them legible. Later, other colors grew widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. As LED materials technology grew more advanced, light output rose, while
The invention and development of the high power white light LED led to use for illumination. LED illumination is achieved when a semiconductor crystal is excited so that it directly produces visible light in a desired wavelength range (color). This results in electrons (negative charge carriers [N]) in the diode¶s electron transport layer and holes (positive charge carriers [P]) in the diode¶s hole transport layer combining at the P-N junction and converting their excess energy into light. which is applied across the diode semiconductor crystal. outdoor lighting and downlighting. Method of Operation When an LED unit is activated. In the architectural market. traffic lights. cove lighting. The LED is sealed in a clear or diffuse plastic lens that can provide a range of angular distributions of the light. long lamp life. LEDs currently dominate the exit sign market and many cities have adopted them as a replacement for incandescent lamps in traffic signals. low heat output. including exit signs. a power supply converts AC voltage into sufficient DC voltage. wall sconces. the development of a visible/white light LED has awakened lighting designers to new possibilities with this light source Characteristics LEDs are solid state semiconductor devices. . typically 5mm (T 1-3/4). energy savings and durability. LEDs offer benefits such as small size. it has grown increasingly necessary to shed excess heat to maintain reliability.maintaining efficiency and reliability at acceptable levels. Packages for state-of-the-art high power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs. task lights. signage. Introduction to LED Lighting Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a relatively old technology (1970s) that has advanced from use in numeric displays and indicator lights to a range of new and potential new applications. Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1¾ and 3 mm T1 packages. LED units are small. so more complex packages have been adapted for efficient heat dissipation. but with rising power output. accent lights.
red. pure green (or emerald green). and green Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) . deep blue. LEDs are available that can produce colors including white.green.near ultraviolet. new materials have been developed that are more efficient than traditional materials. low-current devices and efficient light sources.red and infrared Aluminum gallium phosphide (AlGaP) ± green Aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) . green. amber.Color The color composition of the light being emitted by the LED is based on the chemical composition of the material being excited. yellow. yellow. producing efficacies (lumens per watt) greater than incandescent lamps and rivaling fluorescent lamps . orange. and yellow Gallium phosphide (GaP) . orange-red. amber. green and blue LEDs.high-brightness orange-red.red. blue. and blue also white (if it has an AlGaN Quantum Barrier) Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) . orange. bright red and deep red. : Conventional LEDs are made from a variety of inorganic semiconductor materials.near to far ultraviolet (down to 210 nm) Efficacy LEDs are low-voltage. aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) . yellow. For red.red. bluish-green and blue Silicon carbide (SiC) as substrate ² blue Silicon (Si) as substrate ² blue (under development) Sapphire (Al2O3) as substrate ² blue Zinc selenide (ZnSe) . orange. producing the following colors: Aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs) . yellow and green Gallium nitride (GaN) .ultraviolet Aluminum Nitride (AlN).blue Diamond (C) .
Types of LED Lights Light emitting diodes. they typically save on energy costs in the long term. Their electroluminescence is generated through a small. Miniature LED lights fall into one of three categories: low current. Many HPLEDs are known as solid state lights. It is possible to use a miniature LED light without a casing. Lights not packaged are simple semiconductor chips connected to conductive wires. resulting in a bluish-white light. blue and green LEDs. There are several types of LED lights. White light can also be achieved by color mixing the light produced by red. y . be mounted on heat-absorbent material. therefore. Their initial cost is relatively high but due to a long lifespan. The production of visible white light offers the promise that LEDs can be used in general lighting applications.000K.. as they consist of two positive and two negative leads Flashing LEDs Flashing LEDs are stand-alone lights that serve as indicators. The danger of an HPLED overheating is high and must. rather than through more sensitive and brittle bulbs or fluorescent tubes. These types of LEDs are designed for maximum light emission. are electronic lights. such as a dome or cube. White light LEDs feature a phosphor added to a blue LED that converts some of the light emission into yellow. y Miniature LEDs Miniature LEDs are some of the most common types of LED lights and can be found in an array of devices with surface-mount or through-hole designs. allowing the light to cool through convection. To make a LED flash or blink. standard and ultra-high output. y Super Flux LEDs Super Flux LEDs are found most commonly in large panels. such as billboard advertising. Too much heat can cause an HPLED to burn out quickly. Miniature LED lights are used mostly as indicator lights on devices such as cell phones or calculators. which can be found in any number of electronic devices and have various functions. many more architectural applications will open up for this source. solid mass. a vibrator is integrated into the circuit that interrupts its flow in intervals. or LEDs. or package. y High-Power LEDs High-power LEDs (HPLED) produce a much stronger light source than most other LEDs. HPLEDs are becoming common replacements for fluorescent and incandescent lights as they are proving to be more energy efficient.White Light LEDs The utilization of indium gallium nitride (InGaN) as a semiconductor material resulted in the brightest LEDs and enabled the development of the white light LED. Color rendering is considered poor. As the light output and color rendering capabilities of LEDs improve. White light LEDs are therefore a cool light source with a spectrum of correlated color temperatures of 4.000-11.
allowing for the case to emit two different colors. Dimming: LEDs can very easily be dimmed either by pulse-width modulation or lowering the forward current. Cool light: In contrast to most light sources. On/Off time: LEDs light up very quickly. unlike fluorescent lamps that fail faster when cycled often. Tri-color and RGB LEDs Tri-color LEDs combines two light emitting dies in one encasing. RGB LEDs are the red. Cycling: LEDs are ideal for uses subject to frequent on-off cycling. unlike Fluorescent light bulbs or tubes. In contrast to the bi-color LEDs. This is more efficient and can lower initial costs. A typical red indicator LED will achieve full brightness in under a microsecond. Their efficiency is not affected by shape and size. Size: LEDs can be very small (smaller than 2 mm2[) and are easily populated onto printed circuit boards.y Bi-color LEDs Bi-color LEDs combines two light emitting dies connected to one lead in one encasing. This enables the two LEDs to light up simultaneously and be controlled. or HID lamps that require a long time before restarting. Color: LEDs can emit light of an intended color without using any color filters as traditional lighting methods need. commonly found in LED televisions and projections. the tri-color dies are connected to two leads. y Advantages Efficiency: LEDs emit more light per watt than incandescent bulbs. green and blue light emitting diodes. LEDs used in communications devices can have even faster response times. These LEDs can also produce a third light when the flow of both dies is equal. The LEDs are emitted through a four-wire connection on a common lead. The current flow of the dies alternates to produce the color variation. Wasted energy is dispersed as heat through the . The third lead shares one of the common leads. LEDs radiate very little heat in the form of IR that can cause damage to sensitive objects or fabrics.
000±2. The additional expense partially stems from the relatively low lumen output and the drive circuitry and power supplies needed.000 hours of useful life. Slow failure: LEDs mostly fail by dimming over time. and incandescent light bulbs at 1. unlike fluorescent lamps. rather than the abrupt failure of incandescent bulbs. medical. eventually leading to device failure.000 to 15. on an initial capital cost basis. This is especially important in automotive. Lifetime: LEDs can have a relatively long useful life. though time to complete failure may be longer. than most conventional lighting technologies. Disadvantages Some Fluorescent lamps can be more efficient. One report estimates 35.000 hours. Temperature dependence: LED performance largely depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment.[ Light quality: Most cool-white LEDs have spectra that differ significantly from a black body . Fluorescent tubes typically are rated at about 10. High initial price: LEDs are currently more expensive.000 to 50.000 hours.base of the LED. Adequate heat sinking is needed to maintain long life. Shock resistance: LEDs. are difficult to damage with external shock. Voltage sensitivity: LEDs must be supplied with the voltage above the threshold and a current below the rating. Low toxicity: LEDs do not contain mercury. and need low failure rates. being solid state components. Incandescent and fluorescent sources often require an external reflector to collect light and direct it in a usable manner. depending partly on the conditions of use. unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs which are fragile. and military uses where devices must operate over a wide range of temperatures. Focus: The solid package of the LED can be designed to focus its light. Over-driving an LED in high ambient temperatures may result in overheating the LED package. price per lumen. This can involve series resistors or current-regulated power supplies.
1-05: Recommended Practice for Photobiological Safety for Lamp and Lamp Systems. In contrast. 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. due to metamerism.000 K.2 degrees or less.. but rather a lambertian distribution. The Future? . the color rendering properties of common fluorescent lamps are often inferior to what is now available in state-of-art white LEDs. lasers can emit beams with divergences of 0.e. the strong wavelength dependence of Rayleigh scattering means that coolwhite LEDs can cause more light pollution than other light sources. red surfaces being rendered particularly badly by typical phosphor based cool-white LEDs. 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. it may make even more of a dramatic impact on how spaces are . So LEDs are difficult to apply to uses needing a spherical light field. However. Droop: The efficiency of LEDs tends to decrease as one increases current. Blue pollution: Because cool-white LEDs (i.radiator like the sun or an incandescent light. The International Dark-Sky Association discourages using white light sources with correlated color temperature above 3. If it can be made practical. LEDs with high color temperature) emit proportionally more blue light than conventional outdoor light sources such as high-pressure sodium vapor lamps. Area light source: LEDs do not approximate a ³point source´ of light. LEDs cannot provide divergence below a few degrees.OLED Lighting OLEDs Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) represent another emerging technology that is still in the laboratory.
. it may one day replacing LEDs as an energy-efficient alternative for general lighting. Current passes through the material until it emits light through its transparent layer. flexible sheet of material consisting of three layers.lighted than LEDs. one of them transparent. a polymer or sublimed molecular film sandwiched between two layers of electrodes. In fact. OLEDs are similar to electroluminescent lighting. in which a sheet of material is excited so that it emits light. An OLED light source is a thin.
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