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LED Lighting Basics

August 16, 2013 - 10:07am


Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) efficiently produce light in a fundamentally different way than any legacy or traditional light source. LEDs are compound semiconductor devices that produce light when an appropriate electrical current is applied. Applying electrical current causes electrons to flow from one material in the structure to another and this in turn causes a series of complex interactions at an atomic level that releases light in a very efficient, predictable, and orderly way.

LEDs are spurring a dramatic change in lighting due to their vast energy savings potential, reduced costs, improved performance, and added benefits like low environmental impact, long lifetime, and maintenance savings. The potential of LED technology to produce high-quality white light with unprecedented energy efficiency is the primary motivation for the intense level of research and development currently supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

LED products are now available for most lighting applications, from living room table lamps to high-power sports stadium lights. Today’s products can match or exceed the performance and energy efficiency of the most efficient conventional lighting technologies, including fluorescent and high-intensity discharge sources. Unlike conventional sources, however, SSL technology still has significant room for additional performance and efficiency improvements, through improved materials, optics, electronic design, system intelligence, and advanced controls.

More Information

Visit the Energy Saver website for information on using light-emitting diodes in homes.

Visit the Solid-State Lighting website for information on the following topics: