What’s so different about LEDs?
LEDs were first invented in Russia early last century but started to look like a real alternative lighting source in the 60’s when the American company General Electric could see the advantages of LEDs for practical use.
Initially mass produced in calculators, then digital clocks, then in remote control units, it has only been in this century that they are really taking over as the new improved technology in all aspects of lighting.
Basically an LED does not depend on heating a filament to produce light. An LED is actually a semi-conductor which converts electricity to light by the movement of electrons. The conductor material in LEDs is typically aluminum-gallium-arsenide. What happens is that the flow of electricity excites the electrons which, as they return to their native state, emit the excess energy as photons which gives the light.
In contrast your standard incandescent bulb is basically a heater which emits light too. Incandescent bulbs generally operate at close to 2500 degrees centigrade. 95% of its energy is used in producing heat. It uses a filament which can burn out easily.
Just in its simple make up and structure you can see that keeping a heater in continuous operation just to gain the side effect of a bit of light can not be considered an efficient way of doing things. The wasted energy, not to mention the unwanted heat and resulting short lifespan for the bulb is an old and outmoded way of producing light.
Up until quite recently, LEDs were too expensive to use for most large lighting applications because they're built around advanced semiconductor material. As technology has advanced, the price of semiconductor devices has plummeted which now makes LEDs a feasible, energy efficient and more cost-effective lighting option for a wide range of uses.
Because the technology used in LEDs is far superior to incandescent bulbs, the initial price of investing in LEDs can seem, on the outset to be more. People will often look at the two side by side and go no further. However, take into consideration your energy bills, replacement and upkeep costs, you will soon see a huge difference in cost.