A LED is a Light Emitting Diode. Basically it is a semi-conductive material that emits light whenever an electric current is passed through it. Straight forward and simple. In comparison, Fluorescent lights use electric current to generate a chemical reaction – exciting mercury vapor in order to make a phosphor coating emit a glow.
HISTORY OF LEDs
LEDs are credited to Russian inventor Oleg Losev in 1927 while working as a technician on radio receivers. He noticed that when a current was passed through a silicon carbide junction, it emitted a green light. There are those who would argue that Henry Joseph. Round of Marconi Labs discovered it before Losev in 1907, however, He just noted the phenomenon. Losev pursued the phenomenon and distributed research papers on LEDs – even if he said there was no practical use for the LED.
The first actual LED Light was patented in 1939 in Hungary by Gyorgy Szigeti and Zoltan Bay. Several companies would invest and start developing LEDs for commercial use starting in the 1960s. Today, LEDs not only provide illumination, they provide a variety of function in a variety of industries, including televisions and billboards.
ADVANTAGES OF LEDs OVER FLUORESCENT LIGHTING
- LIFESPAN. On the average a good LED light will provide between 50,000 to 100,000 light hours. Your average fluorescent light will only last a maximum of 10,000 hours.
- ENERY EFFICIENCY: Fluorescent lights or bulbs emit light from a coating of phosphor inside. They were designed to emit light in 360 degrees or the circumference of a tube. An LED is a directional light. So no energy is wasted on light that is emitted to the ceiling or to areas that will not light up a room.
- LEDs can be made to emit every color of visible light.
- LEDs do not require a warm-up or cool down period.
URGENT: Further, Fluorescent bulbs use Mercury gas to excite the phosphor in their tubes. Even completely used up Fluorescent lights have tiny amounts of mercury gas inside. This makes the disposal of Fluorescent lights actually dangerous. INHALING Mercury can call nerve and major organ damage which can lead to permanent damage or death.
On the downside, LEDs are still more expensive in terms of initial cost. But as technology evolves, you can expect that price to continue to drop.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LEDs
To find out more about LEDs, watch this video on Youtube:
Explore LED possibilities with Infinite Lighting, one of our tenants in MC Home Depot: