While the technology and components of an LED light may be relatively simple, LED lights have improved and revolutionized modern lighting. They provide consistent light while being vastly more energy efficient and cost-effective than fluorescent, incandescent and compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) options. While LED technology may have changed the lighting industry, LEDs remain fairly simple in construction. Instead of relying on a complex system of parts, the creators of LED lights found a way to harness a simple process to produce something vastly more effective.
Components of an LED light
The list of components within an LED light remains short, and their construction is fairly simple and straightforward. Typically an LED light contains an epoxy lens or case, a wire bond, a reflective cavity, a semiconductor wafer or diode, a lead frame with two leads, an anode and a cathode.
The key element in an LED light is the semiconductor wafer or diode that is coated with impurities. The wafer, also called a slice or substrate, is a thin slice of semiconductor material that is composed of various chemicals that serve to transfer electrons from a high-density area to a lower density area. Similar to turning on the water in your faucet, electricity only moves in one direction at a time. When the electrons move within the semiconductor wafer, chemical impurities are created that excite the electronics, causing it to glow to the human eye.
The process of creating chemical impurities within the semiconductor wafer is known as doping. This requires very little energy and is what LED lights’ energy efficiency is based on. When electricity jumps from the positively charged area to a negatively material the jump releases energy that in turn produces light.
Two leads, or thin metal shafts, are connected to the semiconductor wafer to create the channel for electricity to flow from the positively to negatively charged material. Anodes are longer metal leads that connect to the positive charge and cathodes are attached to the negative voltage.
In an LED light bulb, the components of an LED light that produce visible are surrounded by clear, durable plastic that protects the components of the bulb.