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What are LEDs Made Of

Find the answer to the frequently asked LED Lights related question: What are LEDs Made Of?

Broken down into its parts, the LED (or light-emitting diode) is a simple device. It's really nothing more than a tiny semiconductor, made of two posts that are placed close to each other. The real story, though, is how these parts work together.

Development of LEDs

The history of LEDs traces back to the years immediately after World War II. When the war was still raging, there was a keen interest in materials for microwave and light detectors. At this time, many different semiconductor materials were developed. Throughout this process, the light interaction properties of these materials were investigated in detail. Then in the 1950s, it became obvious that the materials that could detect light could also be made to generate light. In the 1960s, AT&T Bell Laboratories became the first to exploit the LED's light-generating properties. Industry took a keen interest in this technology, because of their advantages over light bulbs: they last longer, use less power, and don't require as much energy to run. Plus, they emit colored light.

How the LED Parts Work

A few simple parts put together in the right way have ignited a technological revolution. Here's how those LED parts do their job. Think of a standard light bulb. It gives off light after the wires inside heat up, because of electricity. The LED works differently. It generates light, not because of heat generation, but because of electronic excitation. A diode is, in essence, an electrical valve which lets electricity flow in just one direction. When the valve is "turned on," electrons move from an area where the electrons are densely compacted together, to an area where they are not as dense. This movement causes the emission of light. The light gets brighter when more electrons are allowed to move through.

The LED Advantage

Add to this the fact that most devices have many diodes and that the device allows some lights to be on and others to be off and you see how much control the device can have over the lighting level, intensity and colors. LED lights also give off almost no heat. This fact alone is revolutionary, since it means a considerable cost savings to the user and a lighting source that does not tap into our energy resources as much.

LED Applications

Those tiny parts that make up an LED have found hundreds of applications- most of them arising in just the past couple of decades. They're now used as indicator lights for stereos, microwave ovens, automobile dashboards. They're also used for numeric displays on digital watches, clock radios and calculators. Infrared LEDs are used for remote controls for TVs, stereos and other electronics equipment. They're increasingly being used for television and computer monitors. Even jewelry and clothing are not immune from their influence, with sun visors that have blinking LEDs on the brim. Has the revolution invaded your life yet? If not, you should take advantage of the benefits of LED. It's not hard to do. Just buy any cutting-edge electronics equipment and you'll be the beneficiary of those small, simple LED parts.