Reliability is central to LED’s bright future

White LEDs and high intensity devices are transforming the lighting world. Beyond their compact size and bright output, these LEDs provide a substantial increase in reliability, which is forcing many engineers to learn how to get the longest lifetimes from these compact light sources.
LEDs are leading the charge in this lighting revolution, though colored LEDs are seeing broad use in everything from traffic lights to ornamental illumination for buildings. The lighting market is the fastest-growing application for nitride LEDs, expected to rise 24% to $1.7 billion this year, according to IMS Research. That’s 20% of overall LED revenues, compared with 16% in 2010.
That growth is driven by projects as diverse as the Shenzhen Highway Project in China, which will deploy no fewer than a million high-brightness white LEDs, to a project in Los Angeles where 140,000 streetlights will be retrofitted some with LEDs. That’s believed to be the largest such project in the U.S. In these and many other applications, reducing bulb replacement costs is a critical factor.
To gain the high reliability needed in these environments, engineers have to understand the many factors that impact LED lifetimes. For example, the chips have substantially different heat dissipation characteristics than conventional lighting. Incandescents and high intensity discharge bulbs lose 90 percent of their heat by radiation. In contrast, 90 percent of an LED’s heat is lost by conduction, according to researchers at DuPont.
Many of the factors that contribute to an LED’s lifetime will be discussed during an upcoming Webinar, Light Emitting Diode (LED) Reliability and Testing. Diganta Das, a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE), will address these issues on Wednesday, November 9, from 10 to11 AM, central time.

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