A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices, and are increasingly used for lighting. Introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962,early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light, but modern versions are available across the visible, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness (Dell XPS M1210 Battery) .
When a light-emitting diode is forward biased (switched on), electrons are able to recombine with holes within the device, releasing energy in the form ofphotons. This effect is called electroluminescence and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor (Dell Studio XPS 1340 Battery) .
An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2), and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.LEDs present many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller size, faster switching, and greater durability and reliability (Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery) .
LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are relatively expensive and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.
Light-emitting diodes are used in applications as diverse as replacements for aviation lighting, automotive lighting (particularly brake lamps, turn signals andindicators) as well as in traffic signals (Dell Vostro 1710 Battery) .
The compact size, the possibility of narrow bandwidth, switching speed, and extreme reliability of LEDs has allowed new text and video displays and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology. InfraredLEDs are also used in the remote control units of many commercial products including televisions, DVD players, and other domestic appliances (Sony VGP-BPS13 battery) .
Discoveries and early devices
Electroluminescence was discovered in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round of Marconi Labs, using a crystal of silicon carbide and a cat's-whisker detector.Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev independently reported on the creation of an LED in 1927 (Sony VGP-BPS13/B battery) .
His research was distributed in Russian, German and British scientific journals, but no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades.Rubin Braunstein of the Radio Corporation of America reported on infrared emission from gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor alloys in 1955 (Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery) .
Braunstein observed infrared emission generated by simple diode structures using gallium antimonide (GaSb), GaAs, indium phosphide (InP), and silicon-germanium (SiGe) alloys at room temperature and at 77 kelvin.
In 1961, American experimenters Robert Biard and Gary Pittman working at Texas Instruments,found that GaAs emitted infrared radiation when electric current was applied and received the patent for the infrared LED (Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery) .
The first practical visible-spectrum (red) LED was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr., while working at General Electric Company. Holonyak is seen as the "father of the light-emitting diode".M. George Craford,a former graduate student of Holonyak, invented the first yellow LED and improved the brightness of red and red-orange LEDs by a factor of ten in 1972 (Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery) .
In 1976, T.P. Pearsall created the first high-brightness, high efficiency LEDs for optical fiber telecommunications by inventing new semiconductor materials specifically adapted to optical fiber transmission wavelengths.
Until 1968, visible and infrared LEDs were extremely costly, on the order of US $200 per unit, and so had little practical use (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery) .
The Monsanto Company was the first organization to mass-produce visible LEDs, using gallium arsenide phosphide in 1968 to produce red LEDs suitable for indicators.Hewlett Packard(HP) introduced LEDs in 1968, initially using GaAsP supplied by Monsanto. The technology proved to have major uses for alphanumeric displays and was integrated into HP's early handheld calculators (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery) .
In the 1970s commercially successful LED devices at under five cents each were produced by Fairchild Optoelectronics. These devices employed compound semiconductor chips fabricated with the planar process invented by Dr. Jean Hoerni at Fairchild Semiconductor (Sony VGP-BPL15 battery) .
The combination of planar processing for chip fabrication and innovative packaging methods enabled the team at Fairchild led by optoelectronics pioneer Thomas Brandt to achieve the needed cost reductions. These methods continue to be used by LED producers (Dell Inspiron E1505 battery) .
The first commercial LEDs were commonly used as replacements for incandescent and neon indicator lamps, and in seven-segment displays,first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment, then later in such appliances as TVs, radios, telephones, calculators, and even watches (see list of signal uses). These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators, as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area (Dell Latitude E6400 battery) .
Readouts in calculators were so small that plastic lenses were built over each digit to make them legible. Later, other colors grew widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. As LED materials technology grew more advanced, light output rose, while maintaining efficiency and reliability at acceptable levels. The invention and development of the high power white light LED led to use for illumination (see list of illumination applications) (HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery) .
Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1¾ and 3 mm T1 packages, but with rising power output, it has grown increasingly necessary to shed excess heat to maintain reliability, so more complex packages have been adapted for efficient heat dissipation. Packages for state-of-the-art high power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery) .
Illustration of Haitz's Law. Light output per LED as a function of production year, note the logarithmic scale on the vertical axis.
The first high-brightness blue LED was demonstrated by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Corporation and was based on InGaN borrowing on critical developments inGaN nucleation on sapphire substrates and the demonstration of p-type doping of GaN which were developed by Isamu Akasaki and H. Amano in Nagoya (Sony VGN-FZ31S battery) .
In 1995, Alberto Barbieri at the Cardiff University Laboratory (GB) investigated the efficiency and reliability of high-brightness LEDs and demonstrated a very impressive result by using a transparent contact made of indium tin oxide (ITO) on (AlGaInP/GaAs) LED. The existence of blue LEDs and high efficiency LEDs quickly led to the development of the first white LED, which employed a Y3Al5O12:Ce, or "YAG", phosphor coating to mix yellow (down-converted) light with blue to produce light that appears white (Hp pavilion dv6000 battery) .
Nakamura was awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention.
The development of LED technology has caused their efficiency and light output to rise exponentially, with a doubling occurring about every 36 months since the 1960s, in a way similar to Moore's law (SONY VGN-FZ38M Battery) .
The advances are generally attributed to the parallel development of other semiconductor technologies and advances in optics and material science. This trend is normally called Haitz's Law after Dr. Roland Haitz.
In February 2008, Bilkent university in Turkey reported 300 lumens of visible light per watt luminous efficacy (not per electrical watt) and warm light by using nanocrystals (SONY VGN-FZ31z Battery) .
In 2009, researchers from Cambridge University reported a process for growing gallium nitride (GaN) LEDs on silicon. Epitaxy costs could be reduced by up to 90% using six-inch silicon wafers instead of two-inch sapphire wafers. The team was led by Colin Humphreys (SONY VGN-FZ31E Battery) .
Like a normal diode, the LED consists of a chip of semiconducting material dopedwith impurities to create a p-n junction. As in other diodes, current flows easily from the p-side, or anode, to the n-side, or cathode, but not in the reverse direction. Charge-carriers—electrons and holes—flow into the junction from electrodes with different voltages. When an electron meets a hole, it falls into a lower energy level, and releases energy in the form of a photon (SONY VGN-FZ31J Battery) .
The wavelength of the light emitted, and thus its color, depends on the band gapenergy of the materials forming the p-n junction. In silicon or germanium diodes, the electrons and holes recombine by a non-radiative transition which produces no optical emission, because these are indirect band gap materials. The materials used for the LED have a direct band gap with energies corresponding to near-infrared, visible or near-ultraviolet light (SONY VGN-FZ31M Battery) .
LED development began with infrared and red devices made with gallium arsenide. Advances in materials science have enabled making devices with ever-shorter wavelengths, emitting light in a variety of colors.
LEDs are usually built on an n-type substrate, with an electrode attached to the p-type layer deposited on its surface. P-type substrates, while less common, occur as well. Many commercial LEDs, especially GaN/InGaN, also use sapphire substrate (SONY VGN-FZ31B Battery) .
Most materials used for LED production have very high refractive indices. This means that much light will be reflected back into the material at the material/air surface interface. Thus, light extraction in LEDs is an important aspect of LED production, subject to much research and development (SONY VGP-BPS13 Battery) .
Efficiency and operational parameters
Typical indicator LEDs are designed to operate with no more than 30–60 milliwatts[mW] of electrical power. Around 1999, Philips Lumileds introduced power LEDs capable of continuous use at one watt [W]. These LEDs used much larger semiconductor die sizes to handle the large power inputs. Also, the semiconductor dies were mounted onto metal slugs to allow for heat removal from the LED die (Dell Inspiron 1320 Battery) .
One of the key advantages of LED-based lighting is its high efficiency, as measured by its light output per unit power input. White LEDs quickly matched and overtook the efficiency of standard incandescent lighting systems. In 2002, Lumileds made five-watt LEDs available with a luminous efficacy of 18–22 lumens per watt [lm/W] (Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery) .
For comparison, a conventional 60–100 W incandescent lightbulb emits around 15 lm/W, and standard fluorescent lights emit up to 100 lm/W. A recurring problem is that efficiency falls sharply with rising current. This effect is known as droop and effectively limits the light output of a given LED, raising heating more than light output for higher current (Dell Inspiron 1464 Battery) .
In September 2003, a new type of blue LED was demonstrated by the company Cree Inc. to provide 24 mW at 20 milliamperes [mA]. This produced a commercially packaged white light giving 65 lm/W at 20 mA, becoming the brightest white LED commercially available at the time, and more than four times as efficient as standard incandescents (Dell Inspiron 1564 Battery) .
In 2006, they demonstrated a prototype with a record white LED luminous efficacy of 131 lm/W at 20 mA. Also, Seoul Semiconductor plans for 135 lm/W by 2007 and 145 lm/W by 2008, which would be nearing an order of magnitude improvement over standard incandescents and better than even standard fluorescents. Nichia Corporation has developed a white LED with luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W at a forward current of 20 mA (Dell Inspiron 1764 Battery) .
Practical general lighting needs high-power LEDs, of one watt or more. Typical operating currents for such devices begin at 350 mA.
Note that these efficiencies are for the LED chip only, held at low temperature in a lab. Lighting works at higher temperature and with drive circuit losses, so efficiencies are much lower. United States Department of Energy (DOE) testing of commercial LED lamps designed to replace incandescent lamps or CFLs showed that average efficacy was still about 46 lm/W in 2009 (tested performance ranged from 17 lm/W to 79 lm/W) (Dell Studio 1450 Battery) .
Cree issued a press release on February 3, 2010 about a laboratory prototype LED achieving 208 lumens per watt at room temperature. The correlated color temperature was reported to be 4579 K.
Lifetime and failure
Solid state devices such as LEDs are subject to very limited wear and tear if operated at low currents and at low temperatures. Many of the LEDs made in the 1970s and 1980s are still in service today (Dell Studio 1457 Battery) .
Typical lifetimes quoted are 25,000 to 100,000 hours but heat and current settings can extend or shorten this time significantly.
The most common symptom of LED (and diode laser) failure is the gradual lowering of light output and loss of efficiency. Sudden failures, although rare, can occur as well. Early red LEDs were notable for their short lifetime (Dell Latitude D610 Battery) .
With the development of high-power LEDs the devices are subjected to higher junction temperatures and higher current densities than traditional devices. This causes stress on the material and may cause early light output degradation. To quantitatively classify lifetime in a standardized manner it has been suggested to use the terms L75 and L50 which is the time it will take a given LED to reach 75% and 50% light output respectively (Toshiba NB100 Battery) .
Like other lighting devices, LED performance is temperature dependent. Most manufacturers’ published ratings of LEDs are for an operating temperature of 25°C. LEDs used outdoors, such as traffic signals or in-pavement signal lights, and that are utilized in climates where the temperature within the luminaire gets very hot, could result in low signal intensities or even failure (Toshiba Satellite M65 battery) .
LED light output actually rises at colder temperatures (leveling off depending on type at around -30C ). Consequently, LED technology may be a good replacement in uses such as supermarket freezer lighting and will last longer than other technologies. Because LEDs emit less heat than incandescent bulbs, they are an energy-efficient technology for uses such as freezers (Toshiba Satellite M60 battery) .
However, because they emit little heat, ice and snow may build up on the LED luminaire in colder climates. This lack of waste heat generation has been observed to cause sometimes significant problems with street traffic signals and airport runway lighting in snow-prone areas, although some research has been done to try to develop heat sink technologies to transfer heat to other areas of the luminaire (Dell Latitude D830 Battery) .
Ultraviolet and blue LEDs
Blue LEDs are based on the wide band gap semiconductors GaN (gallium nitride) and InGaN (indium gallium nitride). They can be added to existing red and green LEDs to produce the impression of white light, though white LEDs today rarely use this principle (Dell Studio 1735 Battery) .
The first blue LEDs were made in 1971 by Jacques Pankove (inventor of the gallium nitride LED) at RCA Laboratories. These devices had too little light output to be of much practical use. In the late 1980s, key breakthroughs in GaN epitaxial growth and p-type doping ushered in the modern era of GaN-based optoelectronic devices. Building upon this foundation, in 1993 high brightness blue LEDs were demonstrated (Dell Latitude D620 Battery) .
By the late 1990s, blue LEDs had become widely available. They have an active region consisting of one or more InGaN quantum wells sandwiched between thicker layers of GaN, called cladding layers. By varying the relative InN-GaN fraction in the InGaN quantum wells, the light emission can be varied from violet to amber (Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery) .
AlGaN aluminium gallium nitride of varying AlN fraction can be used to manufacture the cladding and quantum well layers for ultraviolet LEDs, but these devices have not yet reached the level of efficiency and technological maturity of the InGaN-GaN blue/green devices (Sony VGN-FW11S Battery) .
If the active quantum well layers are GaN, instead of alloyed InGaN or AlGaN, the device will emit near-ultraviolet light with wavelengths around 350–370 nm. Green LEDs manufactured from the InGaN-GaN system are far more efficient and brighter than green LEDs produced with non-nitride material systems (Sony VGN-FW11M Battery) .
With nitrides containing aluminium, most often AlGaN and AlGaInN, even shorter wavelengths are achievable. Ultraviolet LEDs in a range of wavelengths are becoming available on the market. Near-UV emitters at wavelengths around 375–395 nm are already cheap and often encountered, for example, as black light lamp replacements for inspection of anti-counterfeiting UV watermarks in some documents and paper currencies (Dell Studio 1555 battery) .
Shorter wavelength diodes, while substantially more expensive, are commercially available for wavelengths down to 247 nm. As the photosensitivity of microorganisms approximately matches the absorption spectrum of DNA, with a peak at about 260 nm, UV LED emitting at 250–270 nm are to be expected in prospective disinfection and sterilization devices (Dell Latitude E5400 Battery) .
Recent research has shown that commercially available UVA LEDs (365 nm) are already effective disinfection and sterilization devices.
Deep-UV wavelengths were obtained in laboratories using aluminium nitride (210 nm),boron nitride (215 nm) and diamond (235 nm) (Dell Latitude E4200 Battery) .
There are two primary ways of producing high intensity white-light using LEDs. One is to use individual LEDs that emit three primary colors—red, green, and blue—and then mix all the colors to form white light. The other is to use a phosphor material to convert monochromatic light from a blue or UV LED to broad-spectrum white light, much in the same way a fluorescent light bulb works (Dell Vostro A840 Battery) .
Due to metamerism, it is possible to have quite different spectra that appear white.
Combined spectral curves for blue, yellow-green, and high brightness red solid-state semiconductor LEDs. FWHM spectral bandwidth is approximately 24–27 nm for all three colors (Dell Inspiron 300M Battery) .
White light can be formed by mixing differently colored light, the most common method is to use red, green and blue (RGB). Hence the method is called multi-colored white LEDs (sometimes referred to as RGB LEDs). Because its mechanism is involved with electro-optical devices to control the blending and diffusion of different colors, this means is little used to produce white lighting (Dell Studio 1737 battery) .
Nevertheless, this method is particularly interesting in many uses because of the flexibility of mixing different colors, and, in principle, this mechanism also has higher quantum efficiency in producing white light.
There are several types of multi-colored white LEDs: di-, tri-, and tetrachromatic white LEDs. Several key factors that play among these different methods, include color stability, color rendering capability, and luminous efficacy (Dell Inspiron E1505 battery) .
Often higher efficiency will mean lower color rendering, presenting a trade off between the luminous efficiency and color rendering. For example, the dichromatic white LEDs have the best luminous efficacy (120 lm/W), but the lowest color rendering capability. Conversely, although tetrachromatic white LEDs have excellent color rendering capability, they often have poor luminous efficiency (Dell Latitude E6400 battery) .
Trichromatic white LEDs are in between, having both good luminous efficacy (>70 lm/W) and fair color rendering capability.
Multi-color LEDs offer not merely another means to form white light, but a new means to form light of different colors. Most perceivable colors can be formed by mixing different amounts of three primary colors. This allows precise dynamic color control (Dell RM791 battery) .
As more effort is devoted to investigating this method, multi-color LEDs should have profound influence on the fundamental method which we use to produce and control light color. However, before this type of LED can play a role on the market, several technical problems need solving (Dell XPS M1530 battery) .
These include that this type of LED's emission power decays exponentially with rising temperature,resulting in a substantial change in color stability. Such problems inhibit and may preclude industrial use. Thus, many new package designs aimed at solving this problem have been proposed and their results are now being reproduced by researchers and scientists (Dell XPS M2010 battery) .
Spectrum of a “white” LED clearly showing blue light which is directly emitted by the GaN-based LED (peak at about 465 nm) and the more broadband Stokes-shifted light emitted by the Ce3+:YAG phosphor which emits at roughly 500–700 nm.
This method involves coating an LED of one color (mostly blue LED made of InGaN) with phosphor of different colors to form white light; the resultant LEDs are called phosphor-based white LEDs (Dell Vostro 1000 battery) .
A fraction of the blue light undergoes the Stokes shift being transformed from shorter wavelengths to longer. Depending on the color of the original LED, phosphors of different colors can be employed. If several phosphor layers of distinct colors are applied, the emitted spectrum is broadened, effectively raising the color rendering index (CRI) value of a given LED (Acer Aspire One battery) .
Phosphor based LEDs have a lower efficiency than normal LEDs due to the heat loss from the Stokes shift and also other phosphor-related degradation issues. However, the phosphor method is still the most popular method for making high intensity white LEDs. The design and production of a light source or light fixture using a monochrome emitter with phosphor conversion is simpler and cheaper than a complex RGB system (Toshiba Satellite P10 Battery) ,
and the majority of high intensity white LEDs presently on the market are manufactured using phosphor light conversion.
The greatest barrier to high efficiency is the seemingly unavoidable Stokes energy loss. However, much effort is being spent on optimizing these devices to higher light output and higher operation temperatures (SONY VGN-FZ210CE Battery) .
For instance, the efficiency can be raised by adapting better package design or by using a more suitable type of phosphor. Philips Lumileds' patented conformal coating process addresses the issue of varying phosphor thickness, giving the white LEDs a more homogeneous white light (Dell Precision M70 Battery) .
With development ongoing, the efficiency of phosphor based LEDs generally rises with each new product announcement.
The phosphor based white LEDs encapsulate InGaN blue LEDs inside phosphor coated epoxy. A common yellow phosphor material iscerium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Ce3+:YAG) (Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery) .
White LEDs can also be made by coating near ultraviolet (NUV) emitting LEDs with a mixture of high efficiency europium-based red and blue emitting phosphors plus green emitting copper and aluminium doped zinc sulfide (ZnS:Cu, Al). This is a method analogous to the way fluorescent lamps work (Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery) .
This method is less efficient than the blue LED with YAG:Ce phosphor, as the Stokes shift is larger, so more energy is converted to heat, but yields light with better spectral characteristics, which render color better. Due to the higher radiative output of the ultraviolet LEDs than of the blue ones, both methods offer comparable brightness. A concern is that UV light may leak from a malfunctioning light source and cause harm to human eyes or skin (Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery) .
Other white LEDs
Another method used to produce experimental white light LEDs used no phosphors at all and was based on homoepitaxially grown zinc selenide (ZnSe) on a ZnSe substrate which simultaneously emitted blue light from its active region and yellow light from the substrate (Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery) .
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs)
Main article: Organic light-emitting diode
If the emitting layer material of the LED is an organic compound, it is known as an organic light emitting diode (OLED). To function as a semiconductor, the organic emitting material needs conjugated pi bonds. The emitting material can be a small organic molecule in a crystalline phase, or a polymer. Polymer materials can be flexible; such LEDs are known as PLEDs or FLEDs (Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery) .
Compared with regular LEDs, OLEDs are lighter, and polymer LEDs can have the added benefit of being flexible. Some possible future uses of OLEDs may be:
- Low cost, flexible displays
- Light sources
- Wall decorations
- Luminous cloth (Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery)
OLEDs have been used to make visual displays for portable electronic devices such as cellphones, digital cameras, and MP3 players. Larger displays have been demonstrated, but as of 2007, their life expectancy was still far too short (<1,000 hours) to be practical .
As of 2008, OLEDs operated at substantially lower efficiency than inorganic (crystalline) LEDs (Dell Latitude XT2 Tablet PC Battery) .
Quantum dot LEDs (experimental)
A new method developed by Michael Bowers, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, involves coating a blue LED with quantum dots that glow white in response to the blue light from the LED. This method emits a warm, yellowish-white light similar to that made by incandescent bulbs (Toshiba Portege 335CT Battery) .
Quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that possess unique optical properties. Their emission color can be tuned from the visible throughout the infrared spectrum. This allows quantum dot LEDs to create almost any color on the CIE diagram. This provides more color options and better color rendering than white LEDs. Quantum dot LEDs are available in the same package types as traditional phosphor based LEDs (Dell Vostro A90 Battery) .
In September 2009 Nanoco Group announced that it has signed a joint development agreement with a major Japanese electronics company under which it will design and develop quantum dots for use in light emitting diodes (LEDs) in liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions (Toshiba Satellite P15 Battery) .
LEDs are produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. The 5 mm cylindrical package (red, fifth from the left) is the most common, estimated at 80% of world production. The color of the plastic lens is often the same as the actual color of light emitted, but not always. For instance, purple plastic is often used for infrared LEDs, and most blue devices have clear housings (Toshiba Satellite Pro M10 Battery) .
There are also LEDs in SMT packages, such as those found on blinkiesand on cell phone keypads (not shown).
The main types of LEDs are miniature, high power devices and custom designs such as alphanumeric or multi-color.
These are mostly single-die LEDs used as indicators, and they come in various-sizes from 2 mm to 8 mm, through-hole and surface mount packages (Toshiba Portege 3110 Battery) .
They are usually simple in design, not requiring any separate cooling body. Typical current ratings ranges from around 1 mA to above 20 mA. The small scale sets a natural upper boundary on power consumption due to heat caused by the high current density and need for heat sinking (Toshiba Portege R600 Battery) .
Medium power LEDs are often through-hole mounted and used when an output of a few lumen is needed. They sometimes have the diode mounted to four leads (two cathode leads, two anode leads) for better heat conduction and carry an integrated lens. An example of this is the Superflux package, from Philips Lumileds (Toshiba Satellite 1900 Battery) .
These LEDs are most commonly used in light panels, emergency lighting and automotive tail-lights. Due to the larger amount of metal in the LED, they are able to handle higher currents (around 100 mA). The higher current allows for the higher light output required for tail-lights and emergency lighting (Toshiba Portege R200 Battery) .
High power LEDs (HPLED) can be driven at currents from hundreds of mA to more than an ampere, compared with the tens of mA for other LEDs. Some can emit over a thousand lumens. Since overheating is destructive, the HPLEDs must be mounted on a heat sink to allow for heat dissipation. If the heat from a HPLED is not removed, the device will fail in seconds (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21m Battery) .
One HPLED can often replace an incandescent bulb in a torch, or be set in an array to form a powerfulLED lamp.
Some well-known HPLEDs in this category are the Lumileds Rebel Led, Osram Opto Semiconductors Golden Dragon and Cree X-lamp. As of September 2009 some HPLEDs manufactured by Cree Inc. now exceed 105 lm/W (e.g. the XLamp XP-G LED chip emitting Cool White light) and are being sold in lamps intended to replace incandescent, halogen, and even fluorescent lights, as LEDs grow more cost competitive (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18m Battery) .
LEDs have been developed by Seoul Semiconductor that can operate on AC power without the need for a DC converter. For each half cycle, part of the LED emits light and part is dark, and this is reversed during the next half cycle. The efficacy of this type of HPLED is typically 40 lm/W (Dell Vostro A90 Battery) .
A large number of LED elements in series may be able to operate directly from line voltage. In 2009 Seoul Semiconductor released a high DC voltage capable of being driven from AC power with a simple controlling circuit. The low power dissipation of these LEDs affords them more flexibility than the original AC LED design (Dell Vostro A860 Battery) .
- Flashing LEDs are used as attention seeking indicators without requiring external electronics. Flashing LEDs resemble standard LEDs but they contain an integrated multivibrator circuit which causes the LED to flash with a typical period of one second. In diffused lens LEDs this is visible as a small black dot. Most flashing LEDs emit light of one color, but more sophisticated devices can flash between multiple colors and even fade through a color sequence using RGB color mixing (Dell Vostro 2510 Battery) .
Calculator LED display, 1970s.
- Bi-color LEDs are actually two different LEDs in one case. They consist of two dies connected to the same two leads antiparallel to each other. Current flow in one direction emits one color, and current in the opposite direction emits the other color. Alternating the two colors with sufficient frequency causes the appearance of a blended third color. For example, a red/green LED operated in this fashion will color blend to emit a yellow appearance (Dell Vostro 1700 Battery) .
- Tri-color LEDs are two LEDs in one case, but the two LEDs are connected to separate leads so that the two LEDs can be controlled independently and lit simultaneously. A three-lead arrangement is typical with one common lead (anode or cathode) (Dell Vostro 1400 Battery) .
- RGB LEDs contain red, green and blue emitters, generally using a four-wire connection with one common lead (anode or cathode). These LEDs can have either common positive or common negative leads. Others however, have only two leads (positive and negative) and have a built in tiny electronic control unit.
- Alphanumeric LED displays are available in seven-segment and starburst format. Seven-segment displays handle all numbers and a limited set of letters. Starburst displays can display all letters. Seven-segment LED displays were in widespread use in the 1970s and 1980s, but rising use of liquid crystal displays, with their lower power needs and greater display flexibility, has reduced the popularity of numeric and alphanumeric LED displays (HP Pavilion DV7 Battery) .