How An LED Lightbulb Works


How An LED Lightbulb Works

The LED light bulb has made its mark in the lighting industry, following the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In a bid to find more efficient and sustainable lighting solutions beyond the traditional incandescent bulbs and the halogen light bulb, LEDs and CFLs became the prime replacements when the new lighting standards came into force in 2012. However, with the compact fluorescent light bulb also being phased out due to its toxic mercury component, the LED light bulb has remained the ultimate lighting solution for versatile, high-efficiency lighting that meets the stipulated lighting standards.

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The LED technology dates back to 1907, but it was not commercially availed until the 1960s in electronic displays. Nick Holonyak Jr., the father of the first visible LED, was an engineer at the General Electric when he made his LED invention. The application of LED has since evolved into smart advanced lighting systems.

How Does an LED Light Bulb Work?

The technology behind the LED light bulb lies within its name. LED is an abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode, a solid-state semiconductor diode that allows current flow in a single direction. The light emitting diode emits visible light energy in the form of photons when current flows from its anode (+) to its cathode (-). This principle is known as electroluminescence.

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Essentially, the light emitting diode is made up of an assembly of an N-type semiconductor with extra negatively charged particles (electrons) and a P-type semiconductor with extra positively charged particles (holes). The N-type semiconductor is connected to the negative electrode while the P-type semiconductor is connected to the positive electrode.

When the P-type and N-type semiconductors are connected to form a PN junction, the charged electrons flow from the anode to the electron-deficient cathode through a band gap as the junction is powered. The extra electrons combine with the extra holes to release energy in the form of light/photons.

Gallium alloys are often used as semiconductors in LEDs because they emit photons whose wavelengths are within the visible light spectrum. You can therefore attain different LED light colors by changing the alloy material and the size of the semiconductor’s band gap. To cross a larger gap, the electrons would require more energy, consequently releasing high-energy photons. As such, the blue light is an electromagnetic radiation generated by a wider gap while red light is generated by a narrow gap. White light is produced either by applying a light-emitting phosphor layer to the semiconductor or by using multiple semiconductors.

Read: How Does Track Lighting Work?

LED Bulb Components

Having understood the technology behind the LED bulb, it is crucial to discuss the various components that make up the LED light bulb and their respective functions. These include the following:

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·       The LED Chip

The LED chip is made of the light-emitting diodes that generate the light, fixed to a printed circuit board (PCB). The two common LED chip configurations include the Discrete configuration, which employs numerous LED chips on the PCB, and the Chip on Board (COB) configuration, which uses a single LED chip on the PCB to produce uniform beam lighting.

·       The LED Driver

Whether internal or external, an LED driver serves the purpose of regulating the LED light output by controlling the current that flows through the LED fixture. Therefore, the LED driver not only increases the lamp life by protecting it from voltage fluctuations, but it also allows for on/off switching, dimming, and even color change of the electric light fixture.

·       The Heat Sink

While LED lights do not dissipate as much external heat as the incandescent light bulb and the halogen bulb, some heat is generated internally in the junction which may in turn affect the performance, life, and color of the LED bulb. Positioned below the LED chip, the heat sink removes heat from the LED chip by conduction or convection to the outer elements.

·       The Optic Lens/Diffuser

LED light fixtures have multi-level optics that help in uniformly distributing the bright LED light for visual comfort. The primary optic directly covers the LED chip, while the secondary optic accumulates all the light and redistributes it in the LED light fixture.

·       The Bulb Base

To allow for easy installation and fast replacement of the traditional light bulb, LED bulbs are designed with bases that are compatible with the existing fixtures. From screw-in bases and bayonet bases to bi-pin bases and twist-and-lock bases, there are numerous options available in the market.

10 Key Benefits of LED Light Bulbs in Art Lighting Applications

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LED lighting has emerged as a revolutionary innovation in the world of art lighting. LED lights offer a wide range of benefits which make them an intelligent choice when it comes to illuminating your artwork. If you’re wondering whether an LED light bulb is the right option for your art lighting fixture, here are the top ten advantages you can expect from your LED lights:

1.     Higher Efficiency

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LED lights generate a higher light output for less wattage as compared to traditional bulbs. This also makes it the preferred choice for low-voltage applications. Since art lights are generally on for the most part of the day, a high-efficiency LED bulb can reduce your lighting energy consumption by up to 75% in comparison to the incandescent light bulb.

2.     Affordability

While the LED light bulb has a relatively higher initial cost which is approximately twice that of incandescent bulbs, its lower operational, maintenance, and replacement costs make it an affordable alternative. By reducing your electrical energy consumption, it equally lowers your monthly electricity bills.

3.     Longer Life Span

With a rated life of up to 50,000 hours, LEDs have a 50 times longer lifespan than the incandescent bulb and are 20 times more durable than halogen bulbs. This means fewer bulb replacements for your art light fixtures.

4.     Environmentally Friendly

LEDs do not contain toxic substances such as mercury found in the Compact Fluorescent Lamp and carbon monoxide generated by the arc lamp. This, coupled with its high efficiency and longer life span, makes it more environmentally sustainable than fluorescent bulbs, the incandescent lamp, and the halogen light bulb.

5.     Higher Performance

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LEDs generate quality lighting with high color rendering index and higher lumen output which makes them the best for art lighting applications. As a result, LED light bulbs can bring out all the intricate details in your artwork, make the colors appear more vibrant, and enhance the textures.

Read: Home Art Gallery Track Lighting Solutions

6.     Variety of Designs

The small size of the LED has made it possible to recreate it in diverse lamp shapes, sizes, and designs. LED art light models range from track light fixtures to recessed LED fixtures, standard LED bulbs, LED neon lights, and LED picture lights among others. Currently, there are also LED filament light bulbs that have the aesthetic of the Edison bulb, but with the benefits of the LED.

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Furthermore, there are a variety of bulb shapes, which includes the standard arbitrary shape, the candle shape, the reflector, the multi-faceted reflector, the parabolic aluminized reflector, the globe, the tubular shape, and many more.

7.     Low Heat and UV Emission

The incandescent light bulb works by heating a tungsten or carbon filament within the glass bulb enclosure, making it glow to produce light. On the other hand, LED lights emit most of their energy in form of visible light, making them cooler than traditional bulbs. Similarly, they generate lower infrared and virtually no UV emission compared to incandescent lights, which makes them perfect for preserving paintings and artworks.

8.     Directionality

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LED lights generate focused lighting in a single direction. This allows you to contain the beam of light within the artwork, creating a high contrast between the artwork and the wall. By framing the light, it creates a self-illuminating effect from the artwork, making it stand out. LED art lights often come in a variety of beam angles that let you frame your light precisely to the shape of your artwork.

Read: Art Lighting Techniques

9.     Customizable Options

LED lamps exist in different colors and color temperatures from which to select. Manufacturers have gone further to develop multi-color LEDs that allow for the switching from one color to the other as desired.

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Moreover, LED bulbs with dimming capabilities give you full control over your art lighting output, allowing you to maintain a diffuse, glare-free art lighting level that is three times that of the ambient lighting throughout the day.

10.  Advanced Solutions

The LED lighting technology continues to advance rapidly over the years. LED smart bulbs and art lights now incorporate smart lighting solutions which include automated lighting controls, on/off presets, voice command, remote control, app control, and motion sensors to make your lighting more efficient. You can set the mood, adjust the color temperature, and dim your lighting from any location in your home.

Where to Find LED Art Lights

Perfect Picture Lights offers quality LED track lights and picture light fixtures for illuminating your artwork. The high-performance fixtures feature a high CRI, a vast range of color temperature options, customizable finishes, varying sizes, and negligible heat/UV emissions, which make them ideal for your art lighting applications. An excellent replacement exists for the famous slim line art shades - here is where you can get the 2.5 watt led bulb replacements bulbs for Slim Line Art Lights.  The LED track light collection entails models designed complete with dimmability capabilities, beam adjustment features, frame projection accessories, and lens additions, among other amazing features.