LEDs have much to offer—small size, high efficiency, and incredible versatility—no wonder they are the most popular electronic products in the market today. Their versatility allows us to use them in horticulture, as status indicator lights, and displays with high definition. Although we are so familiar with LEDs that we hardly notice them anymore, new applications keep appearing, and engineers are forever making newer breakthroughs. That is why the LED market is still growing at a stupendous rate, especially in Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. We have listed some new technologies here:
After several tries, scientists have recently been able to achieve an LED that produces a blue color. This has completed the entire spectrum of LED arrays. Now, scientists have a technique that allows a single LED to produce all three primary colors. So far, rendering a full spectrum required placing three to four tiny LEDs near one another. The new technique has a big implication of making multicolored displays with color-tuned LEDs.
Furthermore, the new process dopes gallium nitride with europium, a rare earth element, and the process is compatible with current technologies involving GaN. Commercial solid-state lighting commonly uses GaN LEDs, which means we will see the new technology working in the commercial sector very soon.
Cooling with Reversed LEDs
LED physics has another significant new development. Running LEDs in reverse creates a cooling effect. A research team has demonstrated that by running LEDs backward, it is possible to achieve a tiny cooling effect of the order of 6W/m2. This is contrary to the situation in a reverse connected diode, where the diode does nothing.
Researchers are of the opinion they can improve the cooling capacity to 1000W/m2. Although the idea is not yet ready for practical implementation, wearables and mobile devices may benefit from the improved performance from using LEDs to remove heat from processors.
Lighting for Horticulture
Horticulture is benefitting from LED temperature effects and color-tuned lighting. Tomato growers in Belgium have used LEDs to stimulate plant growth. Rather than high-pressure sodium vapor (HPSV) lamps, as is the industry standard, the farmers used LED lighting for their entire 13.3-acre indoor tomato farm.
Although the light from the LEDs appears pink to human eyes, it is actually a mix of red, infra-red, blue, and white LED lights, which the farmers have mixed perfectly for stimulating tomato plant growth. Using Hyperion fittings, the farmers have used new LEDs from Cree. Now, farmers in the UK and the Netherlands are also using these new horticultural LED lamps.
The Belgian farmers were initially skeptical about using LEDs, as these have high efficiency and produce greater amounts of light than heat. They felt LED lights will not provide adequate heat during winter to keep the plants warm. However, they did not need their back-up heating system in the first winter. This proves developments in lighting is effectively reducing payback periods.
The future for LEDs looks bright, with new sources of innovation and recent technological development bringing increasingly superior practical use. Expect more new and improved products in our daily lives with these new LEDs, especially those in color tuning.