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LED, the potential next generation of lighting

ALLED / 2011-08-16



Light emitting diodes is famous for its great potential to save energy and money. And it has occupied a few lighting markets for its various benefits. But few people really know what light emitting diodes is. This article aims to give a brief introduction of light emitting diodes and develop an understanding of what factors that let LED become the potential  next generation of lighting.

History of LED

Light emitting diodes(LED ) is a semiconductor light source. The first LED was produced in the 1950s by British scientists who discovered that the semiconductor gallium arsenide emits low-level infrared light when connected to a current. This first LED already has the characteristic of high tolerance for shock and vibration and a long life span. But beyond people’s imagination is the efficacy of the first LED was extremely low(approx.1 Lumen per watt). After the past four decades, the efficacy has enhanced a lot at the endeavor of researchers. Present-day white LED commercial package has reaches the efficacy of 124Lm per watt in 2010, which exceeds the efficacies of most incumbent technologies.

Why LED energy efficient?

LED is famous for its energy efficient characteristic in comparison to conventional lighting sources. Its high energy efficient characteristic is determined by its special lighting principles.


Here is the light production principle comparison between incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulb and LED bulbs and explains why LED is energy efficient.

Incandescent bulbs create light by passing electricity through a metal filament until it becomes so hot that it creates light. That is to say, light is just a byproduct. At this process, 90% of energy is wasted in the form of heat. So, incandescent bulbs works at low energy efficient.

Whereas, a compact fluorescent(CFL) bulb enhances at certain level. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultravilolet light that gets transformed into visible light by the fluorescent coating( called phosphor) on the inside of the tube. Although CFL has enhanced energy efficient at certain level, but 80% energy still has been wasted in the form of heat. 

In comparison to incandescent bulbs and CFL, LED makes a great progress at energy efficiency. LEDs produce light using a fundamentally different principle than those used by incandescent, fluorescent or CFL. Whereas traditional light sources produce light by heating a filament to incandescence or establishing an electrical arc through a gas mixture, LEDs emit light from a small semiconductor chip when a current is applied. Light emitting diode becomes a small light source when electricity passed through a small chip of semiconductor material. At this process, most of the energy has been turned into light, but not wasted in the form of heat. Unlike incandescent bulbs, light is the main product at the process. That is to say, LED converts energy into light and avoid energy losing. So most LEDs are basically cool to touch when lighted.

Benefits in addition to energy efficient

Besides the characteristic of low power consumption, LED presents many advantages over conventional lighting sources including long life span, little heat emission, dimmable, durable, reliable. 

Long life span

Operating life span is one of the main factors that commercial and industry consumers will consider when choose a lighting source . Frequent light replacement will be costly at the perspective of maintenance cost. Failure of light may raise great trouble in specialize application areas, for example industry lighting, highway lighting. So super long operating life span is exactly the outstanding characteristic of LED. The average projected life span of LED is 50,000Hrs. That is one of the main factors which motivates consumers to adopt LED technology. In fact, the operating life span of LED is fifty times longer than those of incandescent lighting source. Trends show that long life span will continue to motivate the adoption of LED technology.

Minimal light loss

Most conventional lighting source is designed to emit light at all direction, which leads to light loss. Because large percentage of light will be adsorbed by the back of fixture . In this way , the light usage is low. But LED is designed to emit light directionally. MR16 Replacement Bulbs, for example, just product light at the direction which is need and is targeted to illuminated a particular area, this is really important in some application areas, retail display for example.

Dimmable and controllable

Unlike most traditional lighting source, a variety of LED lighting source is available to control its brightness level, LED Flexible Strip Light for example with several phases dimmer switch , users can choose the brightness level that fit for their needs. 

Operates well at low temperature

LED performance inherently enhance when working temperature drops, which gives LED outdoor lighting an advantage over traditional lighting source when exposed to cold environment. One thing that needs to pay attention is LED emit little heat, so it don’t automatically melt ice or snow. That is an element that needs to consider when installing LEDs in winter condition.

Technology is not only the way we think, but also the way we live. As a new generation of lighting technology, LED lighting source has penetrated a variety of lighting applications. Especially in the times of energy soaring, a greener lighting solution can save you a lot and means no more hassle. So why not change to a new lighting technology that makes a great difference? 




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