What is LED Technology?

H. Bliss

A relatively low-energy means of emitting light, light emitting diode (LED) technology is used in many electronic devices used frequently in the average home. LED is different from the standard light bulb seen in most homes because it uses an electrified semiconductive material to produce light instead of an electrified filament. A nearly omnipresent form of lighting, LED technology is used in computers, televisions, remote controls, and flashlights, as well as in signs, traffic lights, and architectural and stage lighting.

LED technology is used in televisions.
LED technology is used in televisions.

In an LED light, electrified energy causes the semiconductor contained inside the LED bulb to emit light. Used to produce blue or white light, nitride is one of the most common semiconductors applied in LED modules. LED technology is used in newer television sets, where it is a replacement for the cathode ray tube (CRT) lighting which was common in the past. In LED televisions, clusters of LED diodes are arranged into panels that are triggered to light and color the picture on the screen. Televisions lit with LED technology are more energy efficient, slimmer in profile, lighter weight, and more environmentally friendly in disposal than the old CRT televisions, but they are also more expensive.

LED technology is used to create light bulbs that use less energy.
LED technology is used to create light bulbs that use less energy.

Though the use of LED technology for simple lighting is more costly to set up than lighting with standard bulbs, LED technology offers a number of advantages. Because the tiny metal thread known as the filament is prone to heat weakening and breakage, LED bulbs are more durable and long-lasting than standard filament bulbs. They are less prone to breakage than fluorescent bulbs and they consume much less energy than either standard light bulbs or fluorescent bulbs.

LED technology may be used for street lights.
LED technology may be used for street lights.

LED diodes can be designed to have one color, or they can be designed to have several colors of light contained within one diode. The ability to change color using multi-colored LED diodes powers many high-tech LED screen like those used on large LED signs. The LED screen at the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, Nevada, is among the largest true LED screens in the world. Though Las Vegas is well-known for its flashy lights and impressive LED signage, the screen, called Viva Vision, is significantly larger than any other LED panel in the city, extending about five football fields long and powered by approximately 12 million LED diode modules.

In addition to its applications in business and architectural design, LED technology can also be used for fun and entertainment. Countless inexpensive novelty LED items provide an array of interesting lighting for party favors. LED bulbs power many flashy toys, including glowing ice cubes, flashing jewelry, multicolored LED hair clips and scintillating belt buckles. Decorations lit by LED are often used to lend a high-tech futuristic look to an event or party.

Some flashlights use LED technology.
Some flashlights use LED technology.

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Discussion Comments


@Mammmood - I’m waiting for widespread use of LEDs for interior lighting, not just for plants. I hear that scientists have discovered a way to use phosphor to create white LED technology. The resulting light is pure white, and remains so over a long period of time, making it suitable for homes and offices.

I regularly use “sun lamps” in our living room space but would gladly make the switch to LED technology when it becomes practical and cost effective to do so.


I almost bought an LED television set. The salesman at the store told me the LED backlight technology is more energy efficient than any other technology used. The problem is that it comes with a higher price tag.

So it’s a tradeoff I suppose. You can pay now and have it pay for itself later or wait until the prices drop. I’m a laggard, so I’ll wait.


There is another area where LED lighting technology has demonstrated its incredible power—plant growth. Some indoor gardeners have replaced their regular fluorescent lights with LED lights and have reported that the plant growth is more robust and healthy.

I know one guy in our area who is doing just that. I’m not sure I understand the science, but he swears that it works. He says there’s plenty of research to back it up, and that NASA is researching ways of using LED lights for growing plants in space.

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