What Is an LED? – How-To Geek
You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about LEDs, whether in TV sets, light bulbs, smartphones, or otherwise. But what are they, and how are they different from other light sources? We’ll explain.
A Diode That Emits Light
LED stands for “Light-Emitting Diode.” The word “diode” is a key component here, because a diode is a semiconductor that only allows electricity to flow in one direction.
To make an LED, manufacturers take two materials and place them in close proximity. The first material is typically a metal, such as aluminum or gold. The second is usually a compound such as gallium arsenide (GaAs). When you apply electricity to these two materials, one material absorbs electrons from the other. This results in a flow of electricity through them, which produces light.
Believe it or not, LEDs were first invented in 1927 by Oleg Losev in Russia, but a practical commercial LED wasn’t developed until the 1960s. That’s when James R. Biard and Gary Pittman created a GaAs-based LED while working at Texas Instruments. Since then, LEDs have been used in consumer electronics devices such as calculators, optical communications equipment, and in almost every manufacturing industry.
Today, we often encounter LEDs in consumer light bulbs, certain types of TV sets and computer displays, LED strip lights, and indicator lamps on consumer electronics devices.
Why Do LEDs Use Less Energy?
LEDs are more efficient than traditional light sources because they don’t use heat to produce light. Traditional light sources, such as light bulbs, produce light by heating a resistive tungsten wire until it glows white-hot.
In contrast, the semiconductor materials in an LED use electricity more efficiently, creating more photons and less waste heat than incandescent bulbs per watt, which means they don’t require as much electricity to produce light.
What Are the Advantages of Using LEDs?
LEDs have many advantages over traditional light sources. For example, they last much longer. A traditional incandescent light bulb lasts about 1,000 hours, while an LED can last for 50,000 hours. This means that you would have to replace an LED only once every 10 years.
LEDs are also more durable than traditional light sources. Traditional light sources contain fragile glass bulbs. If you drop them or tap them too hard, they will break. An LED, on the other hand, is much more resistant to physical damage. Also, an LED bulb doesn’t contain mercury like a compact fluorescent bulb, so they are safer if you break them by accident.
Also, as mentioned in the section above, LEDs are far more efficient at producing light than incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs, so they use less power.
While LEDs have many advantages over traditional light sources, they also have some disadvantages, including varying color temperature, and the potential for flicker if the bulbs are poorly made. The biggest disadvantage is their initial cost. An LED is more expensive than a traditional light bulb up front. However, the initial cost of an LED is often offset by its longer lifespan and lower electricity consumption. You will end up saving money with LED bulbs in the long run.
OLED vs. LED
An OLED …….
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