Wednesday, 10 August 2016

How does an LED work?

We've heard all the talk about LED's. How they're the newest and best lighting technology. Well, all of that is true, but how do LED's work?

Let's start by quickly looking at some basic lighting technology. We've all seen incandescent bulbs. They're your average light bulb. They work by heating up a tiny metal filament that glows. These bulbs generate a lot of heat vs. the amount of light produced. This wastes a lot of energy. To the flashlight user, this means that runtimes are shortened drastically and the lights are usually not very bright.

The inefficiency of incandescent bulbs was a problem. When there's a problem, people try and find a solution. Moving forward a few decades, we come to the LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED's are the brightest, most compact light emitters that are commonly available in flashlights. They are very energy efficient, small and durable and are quickly becoming less and less expensive.

A LED emitter is called a diode, not a bulb. A diode is a device that conducts an electrical current in only one direction. A bulb is not a diode since it will work with an electrical current flowing through it in either way. An LED will only work with current flowing through it in one direction. 
An LED is made up of semiconductors, which are materials that have a varying ability to conduct electricity.

Anyway, when an electrical current is applied to the diode, electrons travel from the N-type side to the P-Type side. When the electrons fall into one of the holes in the P-Type side, they release energy. Think of what happens when you drop a ball into a hole; the energy from the ball is transferred to whatever the hole is in. What can happen when an electron releases energy is really amazing, though. The energy from the electron falling into the hole is released in the form of a photon, which is a particle of light.

This continuous movement of electrons falling into the holes releases light, causing the LED to glow. This phenomenon doesn't create much heat, so it's a lot more efficient than an incandescent bulb.

Not that difficult to understand, right? LED technology is amazing and you can be assured that in the future, the technology will get better and better. 

The future does seem pretty bright, doesn't it? (Pun intended).

Klarus Light designs and manufactures some of the best flashlights in the world - visit and place your order today!

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