LED Basics ...and Then Some

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have very special properties. First, a simple diode is a semiconductor - much like a transistor or a microchip. But LED chips also emit light which is what is responsible in a growing trend in lighting.

A Quick Introduction to LEDs

Intro to led diodes
Color, Structure & Control
White LED diodes
Future led concepts
Related articles
Related Items in fun-LED store

Next: White led diodes >>
The real fun part is they can give off all and any kind of lights - dim or extra super bright. With rgb LEDs you can have all colors of the rainbow without any filter. The light is very even glow too. There's little contrast and little glare - no halo effect.

But that's not all. 

Although the light spectrum is typically narrow, it can be broaden to include many wavelenght LED units and mimic bright daylight. It also has even wavelength and frequency, which makes it ideal for all kinds of therapeutic and relaxation lighting.

(Actually, laser lights is the most coherent as mentioned before.) And some lasers are produced by the excitement of LEDs. For example the blue ray technology that brings you the multi-layered, multi-condensed new type of CD is using Blue LEDs. But I digress ...

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When we think of LEDs we usually think of that dim but reliable indicator light that peppers our gadgets. Technological advancements made possible the bright and even the extra super bright LEDs as well! And these lights use the same inredibly little energy as their little sisters the dim indicator lights.

LED color, structure & control.

As far as different color LEDs, it is the chemical makeup and proximity of the internal components which determine what color is emitted from the device. The color of the light is pure and unfiltered. However, a white LED is basically a blue LED whose phosphors have been doped so that the emitted color is bright white.

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So what are Light Emitting Diodes made of?

Actually, this is quite and interesting question. Because they nothing like light bulbs. A LED unit is a light emitting chip encased in crystal clear solid resin. This makes them nearly indestructible. But this light would be a little faint. So...

To enhance and focus that light each unit comes with tiny built-in reflectors. These are designed for a projection field of 15 to 90 degrees. In other words there is no need for external reflectors. Such construction gives light emitting diodes quite a unique ability. They can be built very small and compact. It is worth to know that there are always new advancements in the LED world. A special 'generation' of LEDs creates even brighter light with lenses that are built around led units and not inside them. One such type is called Luxeon Star. It is about 5 to 10 times brighter than previous leds. Worth to note that it also draws more power.

The Control Apparatus

Whatever leds are and however they are built, microprocessors called "controllers" can control them programmed to virtually any light or shade pattern. This is exactly what gives them such an advantage as a fun application or accent lights. Light emitting diodes are fun as led party lights and OF COURSE the big thing: you can have special strobe party lights with LED you can't with any other type of light.

On the Radar

You will find organic light emitting diodes (or OLEDs) in the roll-out or printable display screen.

roll out oled displayroll-up calculatorWould you believe that the one on the left is LED light too? Except this is organic and liquid (or it can be very thin polymer based light emitting diode called PLED). The result is an extremely thin 'roll-out' electronic display. This one is a demo item from Universal Display Corporation shown at Taiwan-based Ritek.

Roll with the roll-up. This one on the right is not a display yet, but it is just as exciting. I certainly like it. A calculator ---, oh yes. (The display is on the spine of the roll. From computergear.com)

You might get an idea that Leds are and will be able to do anything that computers can instruct them do. Well, the truth is, that this is more or less the present.

Meanwhile, roll and crunch that calculator if you happen to be in a fit of mathematical frustration. Just spill those beans and relax.
Soon enough you can crunch your display screen too.

Related Articles

White LED basics -- about the role of coatings and light engines.

Organic LED basics is liquid, roll-out and ... then some.

LED light bulbs are not at all bulbs in their conventional sense.

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