A Look Inside: LEDs

This week the Biden administration has officially put the kibosh on incandescent bulbs. Welcome to a bright (read: v much a lot more lumens) LED future. But what exactly is an LED and how is the not-so-new tech so darn efficient?

Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs (thank you Thomas Edison), LEDs create light without heating up a filament. This means they last longer and are more efficient. But how do they work? Think of the metal components as two sides of a crevasse. One side made of one metal (with extra electrons), the other side another metal (which is poor in electrons). Light is emitted when a current is applied and electrons take a leap of faith and jump this gap between metals. Moving from, you guessed it, the side with extra electrons to the side with less.


This setup with a positive and negative charge is called a diode. The diode of an LED usually contains a combination of aluminum, gallium, and an arsenic compound. Changing these metals or their relative composition percentage can change the color of the light that the LED emits.


According to the Department of Energy: “Residential LEDs … use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.” So let's keep mining important minerals to support energy-saving technology like LEDs.


Want more?


The science of an LED: https://bit.ly/2tB8dUg
More about LED efficiency: https://bit.ly/2GXaFat
Here’s a guide to help you find the right LEDs: https://philips.to/31mPB6R