LED stands for light emitting diode. LED's are not new, they are the tiny red or green lights on the front of your stereo that tells you that the power is on. Some consoles have quite a few of them to show the state of preparation of the equipment. However, there is a new wave of interest in LED lighting by manufacturers. There is talk of LED's being the future of lighting. In fact, there always has been these rumours about LED's, but nothing ever seemed to come of it.
This renewed interest in LED lighting started in 2004 when vehicle manufacturers took another look at using LED lighting in car headlamps. In 2008, Lexus produced the first ever car, the Lexus 600, with LED headlamps. These cars were exported all over the world except for North America. However, the 600's headlamps were or are not true LED headlamps, the main beam is produced by filament bulbs.
The first true LED headlamps were fitted to the Audi V10 R8 sports car also in 2008 and the first American automobile was the Cadillac Esplanade Platinum in 2009. However, there is an inherent problem with high power LED lights, the back of the diode produces a lot of heat. In fact, a group of high power LED's produces sufficient heat to damage itself and melt the headlamp casing.
There are ways around this using heat sinks and cooling fans, but these solutions are not perfect, so technicians and scientists are still looking for ways to solve this problem. On the other hand, the front of the LED lights produces almost no heat at all, so if there is vapour in the headlamp unit and the ambient temperature is below freezing point, then ice crystals will form on the LED's distorting and dampening the rays of light.
Nevertheless, scientists are sure that these teething problems will be surmounted and that LED lights will one day be the most economical type of lights to use. In fact, it is already very inexpensive to use and the LED lighting units themselves last a long time. It is just the issue of overheating.
Other than their use in car headlamps, LED lighting units can be seen in flashlights and in other parts of cars. Manufacturers are using LED lights more and more often in brake lights, flashing indicator lights and hazard warning lights, because there is no problem at all with these fairly low powered LED lights.
LED lights used to be either green or red, but now it is available in more colours. White and blue are common. The coloured lights that you see under some cars are another example of LED lighting. They serve the useful purpose of making the car of motorbike more highly visible. All right, that may not be why they were fitted, but nonetheless they increase the vehicles' visibility.
Many more uses will be found for LED lights over the coming years. You will notice incandescent bulbs and even fluorescent tube lighting being phased out in favour of LED lights as the problems are surmounted, because LED lights is still in its infancy.
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