How LED Lights Work

Learn How LED Diodes Work to Emit Light

If you are familiar with what we bring to the table, then you know how much we talk about the benefits of LED lighting. You may have even purchased a set of our LED linear lights for your workshops. But have you ever wondered how our ceiling lamps offer its long-term benefits? To understand this and how LEDs are slowly replacing traditional fixtures, it helps to know how LEDs work.

What makes up a diode?

Most LEDs (light emitting diode) are made of aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs). This ingredient comes pure and often must be doped, or have impure substances added, to add free electrons to conduct electric current. If atoms bond perfectly to their neighbors as in pure AlGaAs, electricity cannot flow, and light won’t emit.

Two semiconductors make up an LED diode: N-type (negatively charged) and P-type (positively charged) materials. The N-type material has extra electrons while the P-type material has extra holes.

How does an LED diode light up?

A battery connected to the p-n junction (the connection between the two semiconductors) makes electric current flow forward when turned on, pushing electrons from the N-type to the P-type and pushing the holes in the opposite direction. Light emits as energy when the electrons and holes cross the junction to combine and the atoms complete. Confused? Check out this handy diagram!

LED diode diagram forward flowing electrons from N-type to P-type

How are LEDs cheaper to run?

While it isn’t cheap to make LED lights, their efficiency far outweighs their current upfront costs. Traditional lighting solutions use 90% of its energy generating heat, which wears down the filament, and the other 10% emitting light. LED chips do not emit a lot of heat, leaving most of its energy output producing light. The materials used do not wear down as fast as filaments as well. This gives LED lighting its long lifespan; you’ll only have to replace them once every several years.

There's a little bit more that goes into the process and by a little, we actually mean A LOT. Those interested in the technical details can read more about LEDs here. If you’ve got enough here though, you can explore all our professional indoor LED lighting solutions. While you’re at it, you can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for tips and updates. Check back next week when we learn what the IP rating system is.