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What is LED Technology

Find the answer to the frequently asked LED Lights related question: What is LED Technology?
LED lights are tiny, but that doesn't mean they're not powerful. In fact, recent high-brightness models produce a considerable amount of light. These lights are excellent for use as indicator and status lamps, under-shelf illumination and TV and computer monitors.

Definition of LED

LED stands for "light emitting diode." A diode is a small electronic device which allows for one-way current flow. That is, with a diode, current flows from the "A" terminal to the "B" terminal, but it can't flow the other direction. Twenty-first century diodes are semiconductors which have been doped with impurities in order to create a P-N Junction.

A LED by definition therefore, is a tiny diode which can be used as a light source. The color of light that the LED emits will vary depending on the material that is used to create the LED as well as the materials' band-gap energy. There are many different colors which can be generated in today's LED technology, which means that there are many more applications for LED technology than there were just a decade ago.

History of LED Technology

The history of LEDs traces back to the 1920s, when their effect was first seen. However, they first were used in electronics components in the 1960s. The first ones manufactured were produced by General Electric. In those early LEDs, gallium arsenide emitted a reddish light. These early prototypes were expensive to make and had few practical uses. When costs came down in the late 1960s, Hewlett-Packard started manufacturing them for use in hand-held calculators.

Over the next few decades, the LED design evolved, increasing the brightness as it did so. Also, new colors were added and better heat dissipation was incorporated into the LED design.

Power-Saving Devices

One of the benefits of LED technology is that they don't require much power. In fact, usually no more than 30 to 60 mW of power is required. There are larger capacity designs, though, for certain specialized applications.

Adding to the LED's environmentally-friendly reputation is the fact that LEDs are quite efficient. As a result, they put out tremendous brightness given the small of power they require.

Common Uses for LED Technology

Today, LED lights are available in most colors, including white. A white LED is made by combining blue, green and red LEDs into a single unit.

Traditionally, one of the most common uses for LED technology is to produce indicator lights that signify something (for instance, the "power on" light on computers). LEDs have also been combined together to create signs, with individual LEDs lit to make letters on the sign.

LEDs have also become common in traffic signal lights. This is because of their relative brightness and because they have a long life-span. More recently, LEDs have been used for room lighting (including replacement lights), street lighting and vehicle lighting. Finally, in recent years, they've been used to create the backlighting for devices such as laptop monitors, high-definition televisions, and similar devices. With so many uses, constantly evolving, the LED is positioned to remain a useful part of our technological world.