Developed into a practical component
In addition to producing cold light, LEDs:
Have a very fast "on-time" (60 nsec vs 10 msec for an incandescent lamp).
The centerpiece of a typical LED is a diode that is chip-mounted in a reflector cup and held in place by a steel lead frame connected to a pair of electrical wires. The entire arrangement is then encapsulated in epoxy. The diode chip is generally about 0.25 mm square. When current flows across the junction of two different materials, light is produced from within the solid crystal chip. The shape, or width, of the emitted light beam is determined by a variety of factors: the shape of the reflector cup, the size of the LED chip, the shape of the epoxy lens and the distance between the LED chip and the epoxy lens. The composition of the materials determines the wavelength and color of light. The definition of "life" varies from industry to industry. The useful life for a semiconductor is defined as the calculated time for the light level to decline to 50% of its original value. For the lighting industry, the average life of a particular lamp type is the point where 50% of the lamps in a representative group have burned out. The life of an LED depends on its packaging configuration, drive current, and operating environment but is generally more that twenty times that of a standard incandescent lamp.
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