Light Emitting diodes (LEDs) are not a new invention. The LED was first invented in Russia in the 1920s, and introduced in America as a practical electronic component in 1962. Oleg Vladimirovich Losev was a radio technician who noticed that diodes used in radio receivers emitted light when current was passed through them. In 1927, he published details in a Russian journal of the first ever LED. Over the years, LEDs have been developed for a number of applications but since 2006 Nakamura developed a phosphor coating that enabled a high power white LEDs that had real practical lighting possibilities. There are other methods for producing light including the RGB LED. This combines the theree primary colours to create any wavelength of light.
So what makes LEDs special?
- Tiny light emitters are no larger than a pin head and produce huge light output
- Can be produced in multiple strings to create large light engines.
- LEDs run on low DC voltages, typically 3-4 volts per emitter
- Very robust and enclosed in strong, inert epoxy clear resin
- Resistant to shock and vibration
- Resistant to temperature fluctuations
- Ultra fast start and stop times
- Long lasting, up to 100,000 hours before light quality deteriates (not fails!)
- LEDs are often totally waterproof, (excluding wire terminations)
- Contain no mercury or other toxic materials
- LEDs use significantly less electricity that any other light bulb
- Will not degrade to produce chemical contamination risks
- RoHs compliant due to the above.
- Less risk of shock hazard due to low voltage designs.
- Can produce light of any visible wavelength, including IR and UV
- Can be dimmed and strobed with no increased deteriation of lifespan