Light Emitting Diodes, or LED lights, are a type of semiconductor device that gives off light when it is current is applied. Incandescent lamps, which make light by heating a filament, don't work the same way as LED lights. Instead, LED lights make light through a process called electroluminescence. Electroluminescence is the optical and electrical process by which an electric current through a passageway makes light shine.
LED lights are made from a material called a semiconductor; A semiconductor device is an electrical part made from materials that have properties between those of conductors and insulators. A semiconductor device called a "LED chip" is the key part of an LED light that makes light. Most LED chips are made of a semiconductor material like gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, or silicon carbide. By adding impurities to these materials, a p-n junction, which is a border between parts of a semiconductor with different electrical properties, can be made. When a voltage is applied across the p-n junction, electrons and holes (positively charged gaps) are pushed into the semiconductor material. When the electrons and holes get back together, they give off light, which is a form of energy. The type of materials used to make the LED chip affects the color of the light. The semiconductor device in LED lights is a very important part of the process of turning electrical energy into light that we can see. This technology has changed the way lights work by giving us alternatives to standard incandescent and fluorescent bulbs that use less energy, last longer, and are better for the environment.
The color of the light an LED gives off depends on the type of semiconductor material used and how the material is "doped." The energy gaps are different for each material and how it is treated. This is how different colors of light are made.
LED lights are very efficient because they use more of the electricity they get to make light than regular light bulbs that produce more heat for every unit of electricity used.
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