What's an LED light anyway?

At dinner the other night we were discussing LED lights and their use in commercial spaces. Everyone tried to explain what an LED actually is and no one really knew- so, we decided to do a little research. Turns out, it's fairly complex and technical. Wikipedia (gotta love that Wiki!) had the most comprehensive and easiest to understand explanation. If you are scientifically inclined- we'll send you over to them for all of the detailed analysis and for the rest of us- here's a brief rundown:
  • LED is short for light-emitting diode
  • Developed in Russia in the 1920's and first used in the US in the 1960's
  • "Simply put, the light-emitting diode is a solid-state device, much different than an incandescent lamp. It comprises an alloy crystal placed into a reflective cup and chemically bonded to tiny wires, then encapsulated in epoxy. When electric current runs through those wires, the crystal material is excited. That excitement is dissipated in the form of energy, a small part of which is heat, most of which is in the form of light." (www.ies-1.com)
  • Early devices emitted only dim red light (think clock radio!), now available across the spectrum with high brightness
  • In 2003 a new type of blue LED became available commercially and was the brightest light of its kind.
  • Today LEDs are produced with higher intensity, longer life and less energy useage than incandescent and compact flourescents.
  • White light is produced by combining red, green and blue (RGB). Much energy is being devoted to producing clear white light through phosphorous coatings and the development of organic LED polymers.
  • Learn more about the energy saving calculations LED lighting can offer- it's substantial- and a beacon of light to the future.

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