What Does LED Stand For?

types of light emitting diode

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While LEDs have been in the market for a long time, most people have limited knowledge about them. LED lights are well-known for being energy-efficient. However, they have other benefits as well. 

Let us get to know about LEDs in detail.

LED stands for light-emitting diode. LED is a semiconductor that produces light when an electric current flows across it. There are several electrons in the semiconductor. They recombine with electron holes to discharge energy in the form of photons.

An LED features two electrodes named anode and cathode. These electrodes let electricity flow in one direction. 

The electricity flows through the anode and goes out via the cathode. Generally, diodes consist of materials like selenium or silicon. Diodes produce a bright light around the tiny light bulbs. 

Today, LEDs have been incorporated into several technologies, such as computers, radios, televisions, and electrical components.

Let’s have a glance at the history of LEDs.

History of LED

The history of LEDs dates back to the second half of the 20th century. Two scientists named Robert Biard and Gary Pittman discovered an infra-red LED light while working at Texas instruments. Since this infrared light was small, it was inappropriate for regular use.

In 1962, Nick Holonyak invented the first LED. Therefore, he is entitled to be the father of the Light-Emitting Diode. He died in September 2022. 

It was the 1st LED light to produce visible Red light. Holonyak invented it while working at General Electric.

Throughout the 1960s, several engineers and researchers continued their research with semiconductors. They aimed to make LEDs that could emit more efficient light. They experimented with distant chemical substrates and produced bright red and orange LEDs.

In 1972, another innovative invention was carried out by M. George Craford. He developed a pale yellow light by combining a red and a green diode while he was working at Monsanto. 

The surprising thing about this invention was that Craford’s LED was ten times brighter than that Holonyak’s. 

Several other scientists were experimenting with LEDs. They did experiments with substrate materials. In the early 1990s, they succeeded; they produced bright green, yellow and orange-red.

In 1994, Shuji Nakamura discovered an extremely bright blue LED. It is considered the foundation for modern commercial LEDs.

The first company to do mass production of LED lights was Monsanto.

bright light history of led2

How Does an LED Light Work?

An LED light consists of two different semiconducting materials. These are P-type and N-type. 

Both materials are known as astringent materials. They are dipped into a material termed a doping agent. It modifies their electrical characteristics slightly from their original state (i-type).

The N-type and P-type materials are produced by introducing the genuine material to atoms of another element. As some old atoms get replaced by new ones, it naturally changes the physical and chemical structure. 

The P-type materials are formed with the help of elements like boron, which have lower valence electrons than silicon or intrinsic material. 

On the contrary, the N-type material was created using phosphorus. They have more valence electrons than the intrinsic material. 

In short, the net effect is the formation of a P-N junction with properties of electronic applications. 

These properties depend on the external voltage applied to the circuit and the direction of the P-and N-type terminal.

If you do not want to get into the technicality of the LED, you simply understand that LED is a semiconductor that produces light when current passes through it. It lights with the recombination of n-type semiconductor electrons and holes.

How is the Color of an LED formed?

Different color LED lights are readily available in the market nowadays. If you know about LED light therapy, perhaps you are acquainted with how different colors of LED lights have effects on humans.

LED light colors such as Ambe, Green, and Blue light therapy help in different health conditions.

Do you have an idea what determines the color of an LED?

The material used in a semiconducting component of LED decides its color. Aluminum Gallium Indium Phosphide alloys and indium gallium nitride alloys are the two main components used in LEDs. 

Aluminum alloys help you get Red, Yellow, and Orange light, while indium alloys give green, blue, and white light. 

You can notice a difference in the colors of LED lights if you do modifications to the composition of these alloys.

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LED Lights in Modern Times

Since its invention, LED lights have advanced significantly. Earlier, there were only Blue and White commercial LEDs. Nowadays, you can buy LED lights of different colors for different situations.

Warm White

Soft white LED lights are known as white lights. They have color temperature ratings from 2200 to 3200K. These lights are ideal for living areas, lobbies, and bedrooms. 

This light promotes concentration; therefore ideal for schools and universities as well.

Natural White

If you want LED lights for workplaces, factories, garages, or kitchens, go for natural white LED lights having color temperatures from 3500 to 4000K. These lights enhance productivity as they offer visual comfort.

Cool White

These LED lights have color temperatures between 5000-6500K. They give you day-like brightness. These lights are appropriate for libraries, reading rooms, workplaces, and more. Cool white LEDs keep your mind alert.

CRI or Color Rendering Index

Modern LEDs have a higher Color Rendering Index (CRI). When the Color Rendering Index is high, you can easily distinguish colors. People measure it on a scale of 0 to 100. A perfect score is 100. However, CRI ratings of 80 are appropriate for most applications.

led lights in modern times

Future of Light Emitting Diodes

Light Emitting Diode is a revolutionary technology of the time. It has grown dramatically over the last few years. 

After all, LEDs have become a crucial component in almost every industry. 

You can see them in LED displays, Smartphone backlighting, TV backlighting, automotive lighting, and more. 

Nowadays, LED lighting companies are focusing on producing human-centric LED lighting. It mimics the natural sun color spectrum. Therefore, it does not disturb your wake and sleep cycle.

LED technology has grown to the level that Li-Fi is a new concept after Wi-Fi. 

Li-Fi is an advanced wireless communication technology that uses light to send data between two devices.

Shuji Nakamura, who invented the blue LED, said that Li-Fi is the next step in LED technology. He further said LED lighting could be a medium of internet connectivity in offices and other commercial spaces. 

Already, this technology has been used in underwater applications, hospitals, aviation, vehicles, industrial automation, and more.

white dotted bright colored led smd screen close up background

Types of Light-Emitting Diode

Miniature Lights

Miniature LEDs are the most common LED lights available in single shapes and colors. Manufacturers use them in appliances such as calculators, smartphones, and remote controls. These lights are placed on the circuit board and do not have a heating or cooling device.

Alphanumeric LED

People use these lights to showcase characters and numerical data. Generally, these lights comprise 14 segments. They can display all 26 characters of the Roman alphabet in uppercase, along with numerals 0 to 9

Flash LED

Flash LED lights feature an integrated circuit that helps in flashing the light at a specific frequency. Such lights get connected to the power supply directly without using resistors. You use these lights on vehicles, outdoor places, and signboards.


Red, Green, and Blue are the primary colors in LEDs. LED light manufacturers combine these three colors to produce new colors. You can use RGB LEDs in driveways, pathways, entrances, in kitchens. 

Apart from this, you can also use them as accent lighting, status indicator, and in-light shows.

RGB LEDs are readily available in strip form as well. If you want to use them to decorate your house, read our post: LED strip lighting ideas for home.

High Power LEDs

High Power LEDs have high lumen output. People use them as street lighting, vehicle-mounted spotlights, high bay lighting, and floodlighting. Since these LED lights have the danger of overheating, they come with a heat-absorbing mechanism.

types of light emitting diode

The lifetime of LED Lighting

The lifetime of Light-emitting diodes depends on several circumstances. However, if I give you a rough idea, most LEDs can withstand up to 60,000 hours. The lifespan of an LED light is determined by the thermal and electrical design of the LED system or fixture.

Is Light Emitting Diodes Worth it?

LED or Light-Emitting-Diode lights are worth investing in. Though they are little expensive, they consume low electricity and have a long lifespan. In the long run, they will help you save money.

Apart from this, LED lights are eco-friendly. Unlike conventional lights, 95% of their energy converts into light. They generate comparatively low heat and UV emissions.

One of the significant advantages of LED lights is that they are flexible. As a result, you can use them in almost any application. They also come with dimming capabilities. You can alter their power percentage from 5% to 100%.

Considering everything, I can say that light emitting diodes are a revolutionary technology that has a promising future in different industries.

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