Edison is credited with the invention of incandescent light bulb in 1870s and this humble bulb has single-handedly lit the world till the recent past. The days of the bulb, however, seem numbered. LEDs are revolutionizing lighting in the 21st century due to their durability, energy efficiency, environment-friendliness and faster lighting capacity. The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference launched the Global Lighting Challenge to deploy 10 billion high-quality and affordable lighting fixtures and bulbs such as LEDs at the earliest. The market research firm Million Insights suggests that the global LED lighting market will touch $108 billion by 2025.
LED is an acronym for light emitting diode. A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor that emits light on contact with an electrical current. LED lighting has become ubiquitous in daily life across the world; lighting houses, hallway signs, table lamps, computer screens and mobile phone flashlights. LEDs are also making inroads into the automobile sector, with new cars coming equipped with LED headlights for night use. The reach of LED lights goes beyond the developed countries as people who lack access to any form of electric lighting can combine a solar cell and LED with a rechargeable battery to enjoy lighting off the grid. The sunlight charges the solar cell during the day and this in turn powers the LED at night.
LED is making a tremendous impact in the electronics industry by driving the backlighting of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in smart phones, laptops and televisions, as LEDs are energy-efficient and allow for thin displays. Blu-ray players are using blue LED lasers to read data off a digital optical disc and this shift from infrared lasers is boosting their data storage capacity by five to 10 times. LED technology is set to perform a stellar role in the smart homes of the future as they will incorporate sensors to control lighting and other smart gadgets. LED will also fuel the development of city-wide intelligent lighting networks.
LED lighting has multiple advantages. LED lights have a long life, typically lasting 50 to 100 times more hours than incandescent lamps. LED lighting products are durable and tough due to the replacement of glass with plastics. LED lights such as PAR lamps consume 50% less electricity in comparison to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, resulting in substantial cost savings. LEDs also orient light in a specific direction unlike conventional bulbs, thus reducing wasted light and energy. LEDs have a long lifespan of 30,000–50,000 hours and merely dim over a period of time without burning out and failing. LED lights lead to a substantial savings in energy bills and maintenance expenses over the long term. LED lights are maintenance-free. They are not sensitive to humidity and temperature fluctuations, making them equally effective indoors and outdoors. LED lights are also safe as they do not carry mercury, unlike incandescent bulbs.
To conclude, LEDs will rule the world and drive an energy-efficient lighting revolution in the years to come.