An LED, or Light Emitting Diode, is a two-lead semiconductor that emits light when the proper voltage is applied. While LED lighting has been around for many decades, technological advancements over the past 10 years have allowed this technology to completely revolutionize the lighting industry.
LED technology was first discovered in 1927 by Oleg Olsev, and was later revolutionized by Nick Holonyak, Jr. while he was working in a Syracuse, NY research laboratory. Mr. Holonyak is credited with creating the first visible spectrum LED. In the February 1963 issue of Reader’s Digest, Holonyak made a prediction that one day LED’s would replace incandescent lamps, which had been invented by Thomas Edison.
Today, LED’s are being used in almost every application conceivable, from car headlights and computer monitors, to area and roadway lighting.
Among the reasons LED lighting is a better choice than older lighting sources:
- LED’s emit more lumens per watt than their incandescent counterpart.
- LED’s can emit different colors of light without using color filters.
- LED’s don’t require warm-up time to reach their full output.
- LED’s will last longer than traditional light sources in applications that require a high on/off cycle rate.
- LED’s have an average lifespan of 35,000 to 50,000 hours of useful life, compared to the 10,000- to 15,000-hour life expectancy of a standard fluorescent tube, and the 1,500- to 2,500-hour life expectancy of a typical halogen lamp.
- LED’s don’t require a cool-down or restart period.
- LED’s can be dimmed when paired with a dimmable LED driver.
- LED’s are a great choice in applications where external shock is possible, and for rough service industries that can cause premature failure of more fragile light sources.
- LED’s are designed in such a way that allows the emitted light to be directed specifically at a target without the use or external reflectors or refractors commonly found in traditional light sources.