While you may not naturally think about it, once you notice the color of the light in a space, you often can’t stop thinking about it. For certain spaces, you simply expect a certain color of light. Sunlight looks a particular way and typically is a bit warmer. Rooms at home, with tungsten lighting, typically feel very warm and look almost yellow. Similarly, warehouses tend to have an almost green and cool feel depending on what type of lights are installed. The way a light looks and the color that is visually projected can make a big difference in productivity and comfort. The ideal working environment typically involves a slightly-warm, white light. However, LEDs struggled for years to achieve a warm white light from the average, everyday LED. So how did LEDs overcome the color challenge? Keep reading to find out.
When LEDs were originally invented and used in early electronics, there were only a handful of colors that worked well. Many people remember the bright red (that is still used in stoplights) and the green that you’ll still see on alarm clocks to this day. These colors were easy for LED inventors to use due to the functionality in the semiconductor found inside the LED. These semiconductors are typically made from two different materials: aluminum gallium indium phosphide or indium gallium nitride alloys. The aluminum gallium indium phosphide alloys are known for making a variety red, orange, and yellow LED colored lights. Indium gallium nitride alloys in the LED semiconductor produce green, blue, and white LEDs. The problem with this is that neither semiconductor alloy can easily create a warm white light.
LEDs themselves are unable to easily create a warm white light. In fact, it wasn’t until the LED casing for everyday uses was perfected was it discovered that the best way to get a warm white LED light is to apply coatings or filters to the exterior of the bulb. This way, as the light passes through the exterior of the bulb, the color that you prefer is displayed and not a cooler colored white light. Additionally, three Japanese-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 for coming up with an even more innovative way to gain a warm white LED. They created a composite coating of liquid crystal and polymeric material. When this material is exposed to the minimal heat that LEDs put off, it becomes transparent and the light becomes bluer. But if the LED is dimmed and the temperature reduced, it emits a warm white light. This particular coating could be the way of the LED future, but for now, companies have to opt for other coatings and filters that help to alter the LED light to the most preferable color shade.
The color challenge that LEDs have faced over the years isn’t over, but it’s gotten much better. In addition to having appropriate colors, LEDs are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They help any facility save money on the utility bill and manpower.
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