Light-emitting diode (LED, LED diode) – a type of semiconductor diode, also one of the optoelectronic components. The simplest LEDs are implemented as ordinary p-n semiconductor junctions. After LED diode forward-biased with high enough voltage it starts emiting electromagnetic radiation in the visible and infrared light.
LED diode symbol
Color and wavelength of radiation emitted by LEDs are closely connected with the semiconductor material from which it was made. Usually they are manufactured from compounds (bicomponents and multicomponents) of elements from III and V group of the Mendeleev’s Periodic Table (for example, GaAs – gallium arsenide, GaP – gallium phosphide, GaAsP – arseno-phosphide gallium with right-doping). Elemental composition of the diode is assorted in a way that semiconductor structure obtained in the process will allow the emission of light in the desired spectral range. “p-n junctions” of LEDs with GaAs are mostly produced with a diffusion technique. It ensures a high quantum efficiency. Group of interconnected diodes are used in various types of displays for example in seven-segment displays.
The division of LEDs based on the color of light radiation:
|Color||Wavelenght λ [nm]|
|Ultraviolet (UV)||< 380|
|Violet||380 – 435|
|Blue||435 – 500|
|Blue-Green||500 – 520|
|Yellow||565 – 590|
|Orange||590 – 625|
|Red||625 – 700|
|Infrared (IR)||> 700|
Smooth change of wavelength is accompanied by analogous change in colour. In the table above we’ve put ranges of wavelength values in length-order to improve envision of the relation between wavelength and diode colour.
The principle of light-emitting diode operation is based on the electroluminescence phenomenon (producing light under the influence of the electric field). Electroluminescence occurs as a result of recombination (annihilation) pair of carriers (electrons and hole) in the area of the “p-n junction”. While electrons flow from higher to a lower energy-level, power dissipation occurs as a heat (non-radiative recombination – at semiconductors with n-oblique energy gap) or light (radiative recombination – semiconductors with a simple energy gap). During this flow, electron energy is converted into a quantum of electromagnetic radiation.
Advantages of Light-Emitting Diodes:
- ability to choose light colors,
- low working voltage (single LEDs need from 2 to 4V),
- low power consumption,
- small sized component (compared to a standard bulb even very small),
- high efficient,
- low energy losses,
Examples of LEDs varieties:
- RGB LED (Red Green Blue LED) – has three colors in “one box”, which allows to generate any color,
- IR (Infrared) – it emits infrared radiation that is used for example in data transmission, also in older models of mobile phones (some of you may not remember this!),
- HB LED (High Brightness LED) – diodes with high brightness. They are used in automotive, traffic lights, streetlights or in frontal bicycle lights.