LED’s are solid state semiconductor devices. LED illumination is achieved when a semiconductor crystal is excited so that it directly produces visible light in a desired wavelength range (colour). LED’s are small, typically 5mm.
LED’s are driven by direct current, and the amount of current determines the brightness.
The brightness of the LED is proportional to the current flowing through the LED, more current, more light. In order to create a full range of colours including white light, we need to use a selection of different coloured LED’s that can be combined in various proportions to create a wide colour palette.
Features and Benefits of LED
- LED’s are extremely efficient low energy light sources
- In 2005 white LED’s had reached outputs of over 30 lumens / Watt and coloured versions 50 lumens / Watt. The light gains continue to grow doubling about every two years.
- Long operational life of up to 50,000 hours
- Compact light source, no other lamp possesses such small dimensions for a comparative light output
- LED’s do not emit ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) radiation. They do not radiate heat in the direction of the illuminated object, they can therefore be used to illuminate materials that fade easily, food, works of art etc.
- LED’s are durable against impact and vibration
- LED’s can be dimmed
- Coloured light can be produced effectively – over 16 million colours
LED Colour Variation
Colour variation from lamp to lamp is possible
History of LED
- 1907 – Henry Joseph Round discovered the physical effect of electro-luminescence
- 1962 – The first red luminescent diode appears on the market. The industrially produced LED is born
- 1970’s – LED’s are available in further colours : Green, orange and yellow
- 1980’s – to early 1990’s – high performance LED’s (LED modules) in red, orange, yellow and green become available
- 1995 – The first LED producing white light by luminescence conversion is launched
- 1997 – White LED’s become commercially available
Common LED Applications
- Display lighting – compact displays are possible with low operating temperatures
- Display case, museum and shop lighting – illumination of sensitive objects at close range with ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) free light
- Underwater lighting – low voltage supply for safety and low maintenance
- Outside lighting – coloured effects to enhance outdoor spaces
- Sign lighting – strips of LED’s can be used to light signage in many different colours
- Low level lighting – LED luminaires are cool to touch and are therefore suitable for use in domestic situation where children may come in contact with them
- Architectural detail lighting – LED’s can be used in applications which traditionally used neon or cold cathode
What is RGB
- RGB stands for red, green and blue. It is commonly used term to denote a module or luminaire that has the ability to change colour, up to a maximum of 16 million variations depending on the controller
- Features include colour phasing, switching and static colours