LED, the field of electronics, stands for "Light Emitting Diode." It's a semiconductor electronics device capable of converting electrical energy to light. Although LED lights have been around for half a century, it's only now starting to appear on the market for regular people and homeowners, for the purpose of providing space lighting.
LEDs have for years been used in many devices as indicator lamps. More and more, they're also used for lighting. LED use goes back to 1962, when it was first used for electronic components. The early LEDs gave off a low-intensity light in a reddish color. Most modern LEDs, though, come in versions across the spectrum, on both the infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.
White LEDs had originally been created in groups of red, blue and green, combined to produce the white light. That is, these three colors were used together and a basic, intense white light was created by controlling each color's current. In 1993, this method changed with the creation of a phosphor-coated indium gallum chip, which is used for making the wave shift required to produce white light from a diode. The process is more affordable when considering how much light it generates.
Each of these diodes is around a quarter inch in diameter. The diode uses 10 milliamps, operating at a tenth of a watt. Although LEDs are small, they can be gathered together to provide enough light for high-intensity applications.
LED fixtures only work with a driver, somewhat akin to a ballast inside a fluorescent fixture. The driver is usually built within the fixture, or else, it's a plug transformer for plug-in portable fixtures. Plug-in transformers let the fixture run on regular 120 volt AC current, with just a 15 to 20 % power loss.
A typical residential application LED's efficacy is about 20 lumens / watt (LPW). However, efficacies of as much as 100 LPW are known to have been created in a lab setting. By contrast, an incandescent bulb has a 15 LPW efficacy.
LED is better at placing light at one single direction than a fluorescent or incandescent bulb is. Owing to the LED light's directional output, it has a distinct design, with features that a clever design can exploit. For instance, an LED strip light can be placed in hallways, under counters, on staircases, etc. Concentrated arrays, on the other hand, are good for room lighting. There are also outdoor, waterproof fixtures available. Some developers consider applications like walkways, gardens and decorative fixtures for garage doors to be extremely cost-efficient.
A typical LED light is more damage-resistant and rugged than a typical incandescent or fluorescent light bulb. Also, an LED light does not flicker. It is quite heat sensitive. Inappropriate applications or too much heat will significantly reduce both the light's lifetime and output.
Here are some appropriate uses for LED lights:
• Reading Lamps
• Task Lamps
• Linear Strip Lights (for instance, for use beneath kitchen cabinets)
• Recessed Lighting
• Ceiling Fans
• Porch Lighting
• Outdoor or Landscape Lighting
• Art Lighting
• Stairway Lighting
• Walkway Lighting
• Night Lights
• Overhead Lights
• Retrofit Bulbs for Certain Lamps