How Do LED Lights Work?

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are electronic components that emit light when an electric current is passed through them. They work through a process called electroluminescence, which involves the emission of light from a material when an electric current is applied.

Inside an LED, there are two layers of semiconductor material, which are typically made from materials such as gallium arsenide or gallium nitride. One layer is doped with impurities to create a region that has an excess of electrons (called the n-type region), and the other layer is doped to create a region that has a deficit of electrons (called the p-type region).

When an electric current is applied to the LED, it causes the electrons in the n-type region to move across the junction to the p-type region, where they recombine with positively charged "holes" in the material. This recombination process releases energy in the form of photons, which is emitted as visible light.

The color of the light emitted by an LED depends on the type of semiconductor material used and the specific dopants added to the material. Different materials and dopants produce different energy levels and therefore different wavelengths of light. For example, blue LEDs use a combination of gallium nitride and indium to produce a blue light, while red LEDs use aluminum gallium arsenide to produce a red light.

LEDs are known for their efficiency, durability, and low power consumption, which makes them a popular choice for a wide range of lighting applications, from automotive headlights to electronic displays and even home lighting.