Judge Jim Gray announces as Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate.

Judge Jim Gray announces as Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate.

April 30, 2012Posted in BlogNews 






Dear Convention Delegates:

In 2001 I first met Gary Johnson when he, as a sitting governor of the State of New Mexico, endorsed the original edition of my book, which is entitled “Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs” (Temple University Press, 2d edition, 2012). At the time when some governors who were ignorant of the issues were speaking nonsense about how we had to continue to put non-violent drug users in jail, and others who understood the issues were keeping silent, Governor Johnson was not only telling the truth, but he had the courage to act upon it.

In 2010 I had the honor to be on a panel about our failing educational system with Governor Johnson at “Freedom Fest” which, as you know, is a yearly forum in Las Vegas that discusses and promotes Libertarian values. At that time Gary made it clear to me that he understands the critical importance of re-introducing competition into the educational system, just as promoted by my all-time hero Dr. Milton Friedman.

Based upon those experiences, combined with the knowledge that he had actually vetoed more wasteful spending measures while governor than all other state governors combined – thus leaving New Mexico with a $1 billion surplus upon leaving office – I have been accurately quoted publicly as saying that Governor Gary Johnson is the most qualified person that I know of to be President of the United States.

Given the wrong-minded direction that our great country is now being taken by the two main political parties, I decided to take his election personally and do whatever I could for him to be elected. So when Gary asked me to be his running mate in this election, I simply had to agree. What an honor; what an opportunity; and what a necessity for our children, grandchildren and country!

I believe my background, experience and values will bring additional credibility and force to our team. I was an elected trial court judge for 25 years, federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, criminal defense attorney in the Navy JAG Corps, and Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. I formerly held a top secret clearance in the Navy, and was the recipient of National Defense, Vietnam Service and Combat Action awards while serving my country.

In addition, I have received the “Judge of the Year” award from the business litigation section of the local bar association, honorary degrees from two law schools, and the annual judge of the year award of my county’s chapter of the Constitutional Rights Foundation bears my name. I am married with four children, including one who was adopted from Vietnam while I was in the Navy, and am a member of the United Methodist Church. My Libertarian beliefs have been documented in my book “A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems” (The Forum Press, 2010), as have my teachings in a fun way to our children about the importance of ethics, staying in school and making good choices in my musical, which is entitled “Americans All,” and has been performed by several high schools as well as Vanguard University of Southern California.

So I directly request your invaluable support and vote at the upcoming Libertarian Convention as I seek the nomination to be your candidate for Vice President of the United States. I am committed to do whatever it takes to pursue this goal. But please do not vote for me, or for Governor Johnson, unless you are prepared to take this election personally as well, and help us in the days and months to come. With your help, together we can get this important work done!

Yours – and Ours – in Liberty

Judge James P. Gray (Ret.)


Chechen women in mortal fear as president backs Islamic honor killings – By Diana Markosian – Special to The Washington Times

Chechen women in mortal fear as president backs Islamic honor killings

ACHXOY-MARTAN, Chechnya — Chechnya’s government is openly approving of families that kill female relatives who violate their sense of honor, as this Russian republic embraces a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam after decades of religious suppression under Soviet rule.

In the past five years, the bodies of dozens of young Chechen women have been found dumped in woods, abandoned in alleys and left along roads in the capital, Grozny, and neighboring villages.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov publicly announced that the dead women had “loose morals” and were rightfully shot by male relatives. He went on to describe women as the property of their husbands, and said their main role is to bear children.

“If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them should be killed,” said Mr. Kadyrov, who often has stated his goal of making Chechnya “more Islamic than the Islamists.”

In today’s Chechnya, alcohol is all but banned, Islamic dress codes are enforced and polygamous marriages are supported by the government.

Some observers say Mr. Kadyrov’s attempt to impose Islamic law violates the Russian Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for women and a separation of church and state.

“We are a traditional, conservative society, but the government has gone overboard,” said Lipkhan Bazaeva, head of the Women’s Dignity Center, a nongovernmental organization promoting women’s rights in Grozny. “They are declaring unacceptable limits on women — as an individual, she has no rights even if her husband beats her, despite Russian laws.”

Though observers agree that honor killings are on the rise in Chechnya, the issue remains largely taboo among locals — making official statistics hard to come by.

“You hear about these cases almost every day,” said a local human rights defender, who asked that her name not be used out of fear for her safety. “It is hard for me to investigate this topic, yet I worked on it with [human rights activist] Natasha [Estemirova] for a while. But, I can’t anymore. I am too scared now. I’ve almost given up, really.”

Estemirova, who angered Chechen authorities with reports of torture, abductions and extrajudicial killings, was found in the woods in 2009 in the neighboring region of Ingushetia with gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Her killer or killers have not been found.

Few dare to openly challenge Mr. Kadyrov’s rule. But activists say some young Muslim women do so surreptitiously, placing themselves in a constant tug of war between two value systems.

Milana, a ninth-grader in Grozny, wears thick eyeliner, dons tight miniskirts, smokes cigarettes and dates boys: all things a proper Muslim girl is forbidden to do in Chechnya.

She said she has heard it from her father countless times: A Chechen girl who loses her virginity before marriage is a prostitute, and Allah will punish her.

“If only my parents knew some of the things I did,” she said with a giggle. “My parents are too strict with me, but it is like that here.”

Analysts say dating can be an escape for teenagers such as Milana who often live double lives.

“It is a great temptation to break from tradition when they are away from their family, said Ms. Bazaeva. “They have a good time, but it is not without consequences, not in Chechnya.”

In this small Chechen village, residents talk about the teenage girl who was killed in early February after she spent a night at her boyfriend’s house.

The 16-year-old’s body was wrapped in a traditional rug and returned to her mother’s house. Her relatives are suspected of killing her in the name of family honor.

To escape the strict mores, some of the young opt for early marriage, which they view as the gateway to independence, sexual activity and societal respect. That goes for young Chechen men, also.

Abu-Khadzh Idrisov, 20, married in his teens to simply experiment, he said. His first marriage at age 14 lasted barely a year. He married a second time at 18. He spotted his future wife at a park in Grozny and, with the help of his friends, kidnapped her.

“When I married her, I honestly knew only two things: her name and the school she studied at. We talked together once,” he recalled. “But we have traditions and extremely strict rules in Chechnya, and you can’t just ignore them. I carry my family’s name, and if I tarnish it, I will have problems.”



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Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

  • Just another example of the “religion of peace” and its uncivilized, savage, barbaristic way of life.

  • wvobiwan

    This isn’t anything new, there are 500+ million Islamic women living in bondage, under threat of their lives JUST FOR BEING WOMEN. What’s despicable is organizations like NOW’s complete silence on the issue, just because opposition would be viewed as supporting a conservative position. Instead, NOW prefers to savage and tear down women who stay home to raise children. The brave Islamic women like Hirsi Ali who buck the system at the threat of their lives have NO support from women’s groups in the US and EU, just the opposite. These groups also attack the Ali’s of the world, and defend Islam’s subjugation of women as ‘cultural differences’. If NOW had any credibility to begin with, it’d be a stunning abdication of their charter.

  • The Moslem Brotherhood with help from Obama just took over in Egypt and 40 million women there lost their freedom, they are now chattels to men. Jimmy Carter did the same thing 40 years ago, his meddling gave Iran to the Islamic freaks and the women became slaves subject to death sentences by stoning and the lash. 80 million women and girls lost their freedom because of Democrat Presidents and women still vote for the party that enslaves them, not to smart. Its the history of the Democrat Party even in this country, it was the Democrats that fought for slavery in the Civil War and even now enslave with food stamp handouts for votes.

  • jtrollla

    Can’t all you sap-head apologists for unfettered Islam just wait for that to come here? It’s coming unless we stop it. Yeah. I know. I’m a racist Islamophobe… blah blah blah…

  • “Chechnya’s government is openly approving of families that kill female relatives who violate their sense of honor”

    No doubt coming soon to our multicultural paradise.

  • Shore101

    Will the next libtard with the “coexist” sticker please go to this country and give them a stern talking to. Obviously they have not received your disapproving lectures or stares. Welcome to the world of sharia law…coming soon to many European countries and Detroit. Maybe Oblameo can have a beer summit with the Miuslim Brotherhood and get it all straightened out.

  • lonborghini

    Welcome to the world of Abrahamic monotheism; islam, judaism, christianity are only minor variations on a particularly toxic form of sky fairy worship. Isn’t religion grand!

  • Welcome to lonborghini’s politically correct, immoral, non-judgmental, atheist stew pot of moral relativism..

  • lonborghini

    Yes, everyone is welcome. Religion is a curable disease. There is life after faith. We can help.

  • I saw about 50 of those on every prius I saw the last time I was in San Francisco. Usually they had an Obama sticker to go along with it.

  • Yes and chew the fat over some hot dogs. And snakes and tigers.

  • Buypass

    Sharia can be fought. Samuel Colt provided the machine to do so.

  • In MY opinion THAT would be an honor killing!

  • Plumbline

    When will we learn that we cannot live as God would have us live, without the Power of the Holy Spirit. These muslim girls are given laws that are contrary to our sinful nature, and failure to measure up always follows. To condemn them to death is to be a hypocrite, as other family members may break other laws of God. God has made a different way for us to be saved from our sinful nature, with its corruption, not in the letter of the Law, but in the Power of Gods Spirit put within our hearts when we accept Jesus as our saviour………

    ………..2 Corinthians 3:3-11……

    …………3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart………….


    …………4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life…………


    ………7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.


  • lonborghini

    Silence christian infidel! You do not understand your own scriptures.

    “But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)



  • Robin McWilliams

    Um, that is old testament, not new testament, when Jesus said “let the one among you who has not sinned cast the first stone” and not one could say he was free of sin.

  • lonborghini

    So you’re calling Jesus a liar or just ignorant?

    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

  • I defy you to look back in the last 25, 50 even 100 years of Jewish history and find even ONE case of a girl being stoned. Islamists practice their vile religious practices TODAY…So why don’t you be silent?


May Day – A day for all. #OccupyMay begins! Public event · By Occupy the London Stock Exchange

May Day – A day for all. #OccupyMay begins!

  • 07:00 until 18:00
Underground and overground London
Occupy London will be out in support of events on the day and is planning some actions of our own:

*** Morning – Occupy the tube! ***

As May Day is a day for all workers, Occupy supporters are planning ‘Occupy the tube’, a fun and inspiring event starting on Tuesday morning in the centre of the City of London. All will be revealed that morning but look out for white flowers.

On the day, meet from 7am at the Finsbury Square occupation, or 8am at Liverpool Street Station. Wear your best workwear and bring white flowers. Musicians, performers and artists also welcome, as are donations of white flowers, which can be left at the Finsbury Square occupation prior to May Day. 

This event is for everyone, including – and especially – those who have followed Occupy over the last seven months but have never felt able to participate in any direct way. 

Expect other surprises around London too. More details on the new Occupy London website (currently in beta) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/291445027604703/). On the day follow @occupylondon on Twitter and hashtag #occupymay for updates. Important updates about Occupy May events are also available for free via SMS – simply text Follow @occupylsxsos to 86444.

*** 11.30am – Assemble at Paternoster Square for May Day march ***

From 11.30am, supporters of Occupy London will gather at Paternoster Square, just by the London Stock Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral, in preparation for then joining the thousands of people coming together for the main May Day March in London. 

Moving off at around 12.30pm, Occupy London will join the main march as it makes its way to the rally point at Trafalgar Square. More info about the May Day march and rally at http://www.londonmayday.org/ and new facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/366099363425438/.

*** 2.30pm onwards – Against Workfare ***

Post march, Occupy London supporters plan to support the anti-workfare actions against companies participating in the workfare schemes, which have been called by North and South London Solidarity Federations. RE-CONVERGE: 16:00PM @ West One Shopping Centre (by Bond Street tube). MAP OF LOCATIONS: http://g.co/maps/wx93f
More information at https://www.facebook.com/events/406395462721503/.

Strike, march and occupy. See you on May Day.

–On 1 May, people around the world will strike. They will demand their right to decent working conditions, secure employment and pensions. This day is for all people. It isn’t just for workers lucky enough to have unions to represent them. It is for parents and carers whose work is often not seen as productive, for people forced into workfare schemes, for students whose only way to employment is unpaid internships, for those who can’t get their foot in the door of the workplace because of their nationality, gender, disabilities. It is for all of us and our right to earn a living for a decent life.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits is rising, with unemployment at levels close to their highest for a generation (much as the Government likes to constantly move the goalpost in their favour to massage the figures). Many with a job are forced to comply with unacceptable conditions, due to not having realistic alternatives, and their work is not as valued as some. The income gap between the highest and lowest is growing more quickly in Britain than other economies over the past three decades. Topping the inequalities off, we’ve seen average pay rises for FTSE 100 executives at 43%, with ‘top’ directors at 49%, all of whom can use their status to avoid tax. 

It is time for these inequalities to stop. This May Day, strike with your union if you have one. Call in sick, take a holiday, don’t show up. Join actions and marches in your city, bring your community together and talk about the issues in your area, make some noise. Remember, you are not alone and that together we can make a change.

Doesn’t it make more sense for a bit of technology to understand what you are asking of it rather than you having to learn how to program it in order that you get the right answers.


Autonomy uses it’s Intelligent Data Operating Layer or IDOL to comprehend the data as it comes into the machine so that, from that moment on, it only has to wait for you to ask a question about that data for it to find that data based on hearing what you say, understanding what you say and going to find the docs or videos or whatever that contain the data that is the answer to your question…

Don’t forget, it already understands the data – all it is doing is retrieving what matches what you ask – also don’t forget, it understands what you are saying.

Doesn’t it make more sense for a bit of technology to understand what you are asking of it rather than you having to learn how to program it in order that you get the right answers?




Until a few years ago data on individuals was held on an ad-hoc basis on paper, microfiche or on mainframe computer by large companies, governments and government organisations – hospitals, etc..

 With the advent of the world wide web and cheaper, faster computers data on individuals started to become a standard ‘must’ for most companies, both large and small, to help them sell their products to the largest markets possible. Networking allows governments to consolidate data on individuals – in the main to give better service to those individuals.

 If you look at an individuals life today you now have two timelines – theirs and the digital data life that runs beside them – until their deaths and beyond.

This can be used to aid their lives and this is one of the main aspects that Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) sets out to exploit for their benefit from now onwards.

System Additions 


A system that would help millions of people join in with this world without having to have a computer and the internet – a system that kicks the ‘digital divide’ into a cocked hat.

A system that will give answers to people when they want them.

A system that will help them with their personal lives and their lives regarding interaction with the rest the society around them.

A system that will help with lifelong learning.

A system that allows their thoughts and memories to have value.

A system that gives millions of people the chance to use their brains for personal and social gain.

A system that finds them personal help when they need it.

A system that will get rid of ‘Big Brother’ once and for all.

A system that allows growth unfettered by the chains of local negative thinking.

A system that works on their behalf whilst they do other things.

A system that has applications designed to stabilise society by stabilising and helping individuals.

A system that is designed to give people the ability to help each other without necessarily knowing each other (anonymously).

Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace)

Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) is designed to be useful on multiple levels and, therefore, profitable, on many levels. Autonomy technology is designed for ease of access and expansion – Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) has been designed to outsource most of its components including un-burstable network capacity for times of stress – personal, local, regional, national and international/global.

Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) uses industry standard hardware and readily available software.

There is nothing new regarding Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) technology other than its new focus.

The whole of Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace)’s superstructure will be designed to allow access on behalf of aid agencies, charities and ngo’s in times of disaster – much of Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) is aimed at destressing normal human life by providing real and practical help, suggestions and answers.

Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) was created giving very strong regard to isolated people and their particular problems – these include mental illness, physical isolation, racial isolation and financial isolation (Actual and relative poverty).



Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) is not a single format company with limited types of use with a limited market place.


Using the technology created by Autonomy, created for use in major businesses and for government uses, Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) gives the individual the power of that technology for their own use. It also gives SME’s the power of that technology at a price that is affordable. It also gives groups of any size the ability to use this technology for the betterment of the group and each individual in the group.


Acting for, and on behalf, of the client without interaction with other people or used as an automated switchboard to connect with like minds – the use of the powerful profiling tools built into Autonomy allows a quality of safe interaction only experienced by members of large groups or organisations already using Autonomy.


Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace), powered by Autonomy, also allows for a number of games that can be run on a real time basis and Projectbrainsaver (BrainSpace) can also act autonomously for the client even when they are offline.


Designed to help with normal life but especially for social exclusion – mental health – education – independence – social and personal problems, stress, the digital divide,  disasters.


projectbrainsaver is a new set of tools for Life management, delivering revolutionary solutions that enable 100% real-time help within society now.



A hot new service that works for you while you get on with life - Works with any phone. 2004





CannaVites is a formulation of over 20 different antioxidants, vitamins, extracts, and minerals created specifically with the Cannabis user in mind.

Click Here for the Cannavites™ product label and supplement facts. 

Click Here for product studies. 

CannaVites is a formulation of over 20 different antioxidants, vitamins, extracts, and minerals created specifically with the Cannabis user in mind.

Core Antioxidants:

Vitamin A – Research has shown that Vitamin A helps to keep the lungs clean and supports the system that prevents bacterial growth in the lungs. Smokers who were given Vitamin A in a six month study showed a decrease in changes that lead to cancer in lung cells. 

Vitamin C – While smoking causes a decrease in Vitamin C you actually need MORE Vitamin C to counteract the damange that smoking can cause to your cells. Vitamin C also helps maintain the levels of the important antioxidant, Vitamin E. 

Vitamin E – Smokers are especially at risk of low levels of Vitamin E as published clinical studies have shown smokers lose Vitamin E faster than non-smokers. 

L-Glutathione – Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Clinical studies have demonstrated that treatment with glutathione reversed two of the major negative effects of smoking. Glutathione also has the ability to recycle other antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, keeping them in their active state. 

Glutathione Boosting Formula:

N-Acetyl Cysteine, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride – Besides being proven to increase the levels of glutathione in the body, both ingredients have been shown in animal studies to reduce the negative effects of toxicity related to smoking. L-Cysteine Hodrocloride has also been shown in tests to reduce the effects smoking has on the upper digestive tract. Cysteine can bind to acetaldehyde and eliminate its toxicity. 

CoEnzyme Q10 – CoQ10 supports the regeneration of other antioxidants and serves several functions in the body, including respiratory. Therefore several researchers have suggested CoQ10 as a supplement for smokers. 

Pycnogenol – A drug supplement taken from the bark of pine trees in France could better the health of smokers, according to a UA professor’s research. 

Proprietary Botanical Extract Blend

Green Tea Extract – Green tea polyphenol EGCG suppresses smoke induced inflimation and irratation within bronchial epithelial cells in the lungs. 

Echinacea – Echinacea has been shown to be an immunostimulator, stimulating the body’s non-specific immune system. 

Bilberry – contains Anthocyanins wich are antioxidants that reduce the free-radical damage from smoking, pollution, other toxins. Bilberries also contain vitamin C and tannins. 

Broccoli – Compounds found in broccoli were found to block lung cancer progression in animal studies and tests on smokers cancer cells. 

Studies have shown broccoli can boost antioxidants that counter chemical triggers and the negative effects of smoke. 

Spirulina – Several scientific studies, observing smokers, report high levels of suppression of several types of cancer after being fed whole spirulina or treated with its water extracts. 

Chlorella – has been shown to increase the Antioxidant levels within the body and decrease DNA damage suffered by smoking. 

Beet Fiber – or Betaine is found in beets. This supports the body in lowering the risk factor of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, blood clots and strokes. 

Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex – Citrus fruits are well known for providing ample amounts of vitamin C. But they also supply bioflavonoids, substances that are not required for life but that may improve health. The major bioflavonoids found in citrus fruits are diosmin, hesperidin, rutin, naringin, tangeretin, diosmetin, narirutin, neohesperidin, and nobiletin. 

Quercetin – Dietary Quercetin intake supports the immune system against lower stomach cancer, the protection has been shown to be particularly strong for women exposed to oxidative stress, such as smoking. 

Adaptogenic Herb

Schisandra – Research has shown Schisandra to support increased mental and physical excersize capabilities, as well as improving adaptibility to environmental stresses. Recent studies on laboratory animals show that schisandra increases glutathione levels.

Mineral Complex

Calcium, Phosphorus , Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese – Based on information from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons as well as other studies we have combined these minerals to help reduce the dangers posed by smoking to the following: skeletal structure, prostate health, teeth, and, in women, a decrease in estrogen levels.

Light-emitting diode From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Light-emitting diode

“LED” redirects here. For other uses, see LED (disambiguation).

Light-emitting diode
Red, pure green and blue LEDs of the 5mm diffused type
Type Passiveoptoelectronic
Working principle Electroluminescence
Invented Nick Holonyak Jr.(1962)[1]
First production 1968[2]
Electronic symbol
LED symbol.svg
Pin configuration anode and cathode

Parts of an LED. Although not directly labeled, the flat bottom surfaces of the anvil and post embedded inside the epoxy act as anchors, to prevent the conductors from being forcefully pulled out from mechanical strain or vibration.

Modern LED retrofit with E27 screw in base

LED retrofit “bulb” with aluminium heatsink, a diffusing dome and E27 base, using a built-in power supply working on mains voltage

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source.[3] LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting. Introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962,[4] early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light, but modern versions are available across the visibleultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.

When a light-emitting diode is forward-biased (switched on), electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor. LEDs are often small in area (less than 1 mm2), and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.[5] LEDs present many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are relatively expensive and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.

Light-emitting diodes are used in applications as diverse as aviation lightingautomotive lighting, advertising, general lighting, and traffic signals. LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology. Infrared LEDs are also used in the remote control units of many commercial products including televisions, DVD players, and other domestic appliances.




[edit]Discoveries and early devices

Green electroluminescence from a point contact on a crystal of SiCrecreates H. J. Round‘s original experiment from 1907.

Electroluminescence as a phenomenon was discovered in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round of Marconi Labs, using a crystal ofsilicon carbide and a cat’s-whisker detector.[6][7] Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev reported creation of the first LED in 1927.[8][9] His research was distributed in Russian, German and British scientific journals, but no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades.[10][11] Rubin Braunstein[12] of the Radio Corporation of America reported on infrared emission from gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor alloys in 1955.[13] Braunstein observed infrared emission generated by simple diode structures using gallium antimonide (GaSb), GaAs, indium phosphide (InP), and silicon-germanium (SiGe) alloys at room temperature and at 77 kelvin.

In 1961 American experimenters Robert Biard and Gary Pittman, working at Texas Instruments,[14] found that GaAs emitted infrared radiation when electric current was applied and received the patent for the infrared LED.

The first practical visible-spectrum (red) LED was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr., while working at General Electric Company.[4]Holonyak is seen as the “father of the light-emitting diode”.[15] M. George Craford,[16] a former graduate student of Holonyak, invented the first yellow LED and improved the brightness of red and red-orange LEDs by a factor of ten in 1972.[17] In 1976, T. P. Pearsall created the first high-brightness, high-efficiency LEDs for optical fiber telecommunications by inventing new semiconductor materials specifically adapted to optical fiber transmission wavelengths.[18]

Until 1968, visible and infrared LEDs were extremely costly, on the order of US$200 per unit, and so had little practical use.[2] The Monsanto Company was the first organization to mass-produce visible LEDs, using gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) in 1968 to produce red LEDs suitable for indicators.[2] Hewlett Packard (HP) introduced LEDs in 1968, initially using GaAsP supplied by Monsanto. The technology proved to have major uses for alphanumeric displays and was integrated into HP’s early handheld calculators. In the 1970s commercially successful LED devices at less than five cents each were produced by Fairchild Optoelectronics. These devices employed compound semiconductor chips fabricated with the planar process invented by Dr. Jean Hoerni at Fairchild Semiconductor.[19] The combination of planar processing for chip fabrication and innovative packaging methods enabled the team at Fairchild led by optoelectronics pioneer Thomas Brandt to achieve the needed cost reductions. These methods continue to be used by LED producers.[20]

[edit]Practical use

LED display of a TI-30 scientific calculator (ca. 1978), which uses plastic lenses to increase the visible digit size

The first commercial LEDs were commonly used as replacements for incandescent and neon indicator lamps, and in seven-segment displays,[21] first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment, then later in such appliances as TVs, radios, telephones, calculators, and even watches (see list of signal uses). These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators, as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area. Readouts in calculators were so small that plastic lenses were built over each digit to make them legible. Later, other colors grew widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. As LED materials technology grew more advanced, light output rose, while maintaining efficiency and reliability at acceptable levels. The invention and development of the high-power white-light LED led to use for illumination, which is fast replacing incandescent and fluorescent lighting[22][23] (see list of illumination applications). Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1¾ and 3 mm T1 packages, but with rising power output, it has grown increasingly necessary to shed excess heat to maintain reliability,[24] so more complex packages have been adapted for efficient heat dissipation. Packages for state-of-the-art high-power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs.

[edit]Continuing development

Illustration of Haitz’s law. Light output per LED as a function of production year; note the logarithmic scale on the vertical axis

The first high-brightness blue LED was demonstrated by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Corporation and was based on InGaN,[25]borrowing on critical developments in GaN nucleation on sapphire substrates and the demonstration of p-type doping of GaN, which were developed by Isamu Akasaki and H. Amano in Nagoya.[citation needed] In 1995, Alberto Barbieri at the Cardiff University Laboratory (GB) investigated the efficiency and reliability of high-brightness LEDs and demonstrated a very impressive result by using a transparent contact made of indium tin oxide (ITO) on (AlGaInP/GaAs) LED. The existence of blue LEDs and high-efficiency LEDs quickly led to the development of the first white LED, which employed a Y3Al5O12:Ce, or “YAG“, phosphor coating to mix yellow (down-converted) light with blue to produce light that appears white. Nakamura was awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention.[26]

The development of LED technology has caused their efficiency and light output to rise exponentially, with a doubling occurring about every 36 months since the 1960s, in a way similar to Moore’s law. The advances are in general attributed to the parallel development of other semiconductor technologies and advances in optics and material science. This trend is called Haitz’s law after Dr. Roland Haitz.[27]

In February 2008, a luminous efficacy of 300 lumens of visible light per watt of radiation (not per electrical watt) and warm-light emission was achieved by using nanocrystals.[28]

In 2001[29] and 2002,[30] processes for growing gallium nitride (GaN) LEDs on silicon were successfully demonstrated, yielding high power LEDs reported in January 2012.[31] Epitaxy costs could be reduced by up to 90% using six-inch silicon wafers instead of two-inch sapphire wafers.[32]

In 2011, Zhong Li Wang from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that the energy efficiency of Piezoelectric UV LED’s can be increased by 400% (from 2% to 8%) by using zinc oxide nanowires.[33]


The inner workings of an LED

I-V diagram for a diode. An LED will begin to emit light when the on-voltage is exceeded. Typical on voltages are 2–3 volts.


The LED consists of a chip of semiconducting material doped with impurities to create a p-n junction. As in other diodes, current flows easily from the p-side, or anode, to the n-side, or cathode, but not in the reverse direction. Charge-carriers—electrons and holes—flow into the junction from electrodes with different voltages. When an electron meets a hole, it falls into a lower energy level, and releases energy in the form of a photon.

The wavelength of the light emitted, and thus its color depends on the band gap energy of the materials forming the p-n junction. In silicon or germanium diodes, the electrons and holes recombine by a non-radiative transition, which produces no optical emission, because these are indirect band gap materials. The materials used for the LED have a direct band gap with energies corresponding to near-infrared, visible, or near-ultraviolet light.

LED development began with infrared and red devices made with gallium arsenide. Advances in materials science have enabled making devices with ever-shorter wavelengths, emitting light in a variety of colors.

LEDs are usually built on an n-type substrate, with an electrode attached to the p-type layer deposited on its surface. P-type substrates, while less common, occur as well. Many commercial LEDs, especially GaN/InGaN, also use sapphire substrate.

Most materials used for LED production have very high refractive indices. This means that much light will be reflected back into the material at the material/air surface interface. Thus, light extraction in LEDs is an important aspect of LED production, subject to much research and development.

[edit]Refractive index

Idealized example of light emission cones in a semiconductor, for a single point-source emission zone. The left illustration is for a fully translucent wafer, while the right illustration shows the half-cones formed when the bottom layer is fully opaque. The light is actually emitted equally in all directions from the point-source, so the areas between the cones shows the large amount of trapped light energy that is wasted as heat.[34]

The light emission cones of a real LED wafer are far more complex than a single point-source light emission. The light emission zone is typically a two-dimensional plane between the wafers. Every atom across this plane has an individual set of emission cones.

Drawing the billions of overlapping cones is impossible, so this is a simplified diagram showing the extents of all the emission cones combined. The larger side cones are clipped to show the interior features and reduce image complexity; they would extend to the opposite edges of the two-dimensional emission plane.

Bare uncoated semiconductors such as silicon exhibit a very high refractive index relative to open air, which prevents passage of photons at sharp angles relative to the air-contacting surface of the semiconductor. This property affects both the light-emission efficiency of LEDs as well as the light-absorption efficiency of photovoltaic cells. The refractive index of silicon is 4.24, while air is 1.0002926.[35]

In general, a flat-surface uncoated LED semiconductor chip will emit light only perpendicular to the semiconductor’s surface, and a few degrees to the side, in a cone shape referred to as the light cone, cone of light,[36] or the escape cone.[37] The maximum angle of incidence is referred to as the critical angle. When this angle is exceeded, photons no longer penetrate the semiconductor but are instead reflected both internally inside the semiconductor crystal and externally off the surface of the crystal as if it were a mirror.[37]

Internal reflections can escape through other crystalline faces, if the incidence angle is low enough and the crystal is sufficiently transparent to not re-absorb the photon emission. But for a simple square LED with 90-degree angled surfaces on all sides, the faces all act as equal angle mirrors. In this case the light can not escape and is lost as waste heat in the crystal.[37]

A convoluted chip surface with angled facets similar to a jewel or fresnel lens can increase light output by allowing light to be emitted perpendicular to the chip surface while far to the sides of the photon emission point.[38]

The ideal shape of a semiconductor with maximum light output would be a microsphere with the photon emission occurring at the exact center, with electrodes penetrating to the center to contact at the emission point. All light rays emanating from the center would be perpendicular to the entire surface of the sphere, resulting in no internal reflections. A hemispherical semiconductor would also work, with the flat back-surface serving as a mirror to back-scattered photons.[39]

[edit]Transition coatings

Many LED semiconductor chips are potted in clear or colored molded plastic shells. The plastic shell has three purposes:

  1. Mounting the semiconductor chip in devices is easier to accomplish.
  2. The tiny fragile electrical wiring is physically supported and protected from damage.
  3. The plastic acts as a refractive intermediary between the relatively high-index semiconductor and low-index open air.[40]

The third feature helps to boost the light emission from the semiconductor by acting as a diffusing lens, allowing light to be emitted at a much higher angle of incidence from the light cone than the bare chip is able to emit alone.

[edit]Efficiency and operational parameters

Typical indicator LEDs are designed to operate with no more than 30–60 milliwatts (mW) of electrical power. Around 1999,Philips Lumileds introduced power LEDs capable of continuous use at one watt. These LEDs used much larger semiconductor die sizes to handle the large power inputs. Also, the semiconductor dies were mounted onto metal slugs to allow for heat removal from the LED die.

One of the key advantages of LED-based lighting sources is high luminous efficacy. White LEDs quickly matched and overtook the efficacy of standard incandescent lighting systems. In 2002, Lumileds made five-watt LEDs available with aluminous efficacy of 18–22 lumens per watt (lm/W). For comparison, a conventional incandescent light bulb of 60–100 watts emits around 15 lm/W, and standard fluorescent lights emit up to 100 lm/W. A recurring problem is that efficacy falls sharply with rising current. This effect is known as droop and effectively limits the light output of a given LED, raising heating more than light output for higher current.[41][42][43]

In September 2003, a new type of blue LED was demonstrated by the company Cree Inc. to provide 24 mW at 20milliamperes (mA). This produced a commercially packaged white light giving 65 lm/W at 20 mA, becoming the brightest white LED commercially available at the time, and more than four times as efficient as standard incandescents. In 2006, they demonstrated a prototype with a record white LED luminous efficacy of 131 lm/W at 20 mA. Nichia Corporation has developed a white LED with luminous efficacy of 150 lm/W at a forward current of 20 mA.[44] Cree’s XLamp XM-L LEDs, commercially available in 2011, produce 100 lumens per watt at their full power of 10 watts, and up to 160 lumens/watt at around 2 watts input power.

Practical general lighting needs high-power LEDs, of one watt or more. Typical operating currents for such devices begin at 350 mA.

Note that these efficiencies are for the LED chip only, held at low temperature in a lab. Lighting works at higher temperature and with drive circuit losses, so efficiencies are much lower.United States Department of Energy (DOE) testing of commercial LED lamps designed to replace incandescent lamps or CFLs showed that average efficacy was still about 46 lm/W in 2009 (tested performance ranged from 17 lm/W to 79 lm/W).[45]

Cree issued a press release on February 3, 2010 about a laboratory prototype LED achieving 208 lumens per watt at room temperature. The correlated color temperature was reported to be 4579 K.[46]

[edit]Lifetime and failure

Solid state devices such as LEDs are subject to very limited wear and tear if operated at low currents and at low temperatures. Many of the LEDs made in the 1970s and 1980s are still in service today. Typical lifetimes quoted are 25,000 to 100,000 hours, but heat and current settings can extend or shorten this time significantly. [47]

The most common symptom of LED (and diode laser) failure is the gradual lowering of light output and loss of efficiency. Sudden failures, although rare, can occur as well. Early red LEDs were notable for their short lifetime. With the development of high-power LEDs the devices are subjected to higher junction temperatures and higher current densities than traditional devices. This causes stress on the material and may cause early light-output degradation. To quantitatively classify lifetime in a standardized manner it has been suggested to use the terms L75 and L50, which is the time it will take a given LED to reach 75% and 50% light output respectively.[48]

Like other lighting devices, LED performance is temperature dependent. Most manufacturers’ published ratings of LEDs are for an operating temperature of 25 °C. LEDs used outdoors, such as traffic signals or in-pavement signal lights, and that are utilized in climates where the temperature within the luminaire gets very hot, could result in low signal intensities or even failure.[49]

LED light output rises at lower temperatures, leveling off depending on type at around −30C.[citation needed] Thus, LED technology may be a good replacement in uses such as supermarket freezer lighting[50][51][52] and will last longer than other technologies. Because LEDs emit less heat than incandescent bulbs, they are an energy-efficient technology for uses such as freezers. However, because they emit little heat, ice and snow may build up on the LED luminaire in colder climates.[49] This lack of waste heat generation has been observed to cause sometimes significant problems with street traffic signals and airport runway lighting in snow-prone areas, although some research has been done to try to develop heat sink technologies to transfer heat to other areas of the luminaire.[53]

[edit]Colors and materials

Conventional LEDs are made from a variety of inorganic semiconductor materials, the following table shows the available colors with wavelength range, voltage drop and material:

Color Wavelength [nm] Voltage drop [ΔV] Semiconductor material
Infrared λ > 760 ΔV < 1.63 Gallium arsenide (GaAs)
Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs)
Red 610 < λ < 760 1.63 < ΔV < 2.03 Aluminium gallium arsenide (AlGaAs)
Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Orange 590 < λ < 610 2.03 < ΔV < 2.10 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Yellow 570 < λ < 590 2.10 < ΔV < 2.18 Gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Green 500 < λ < 570 1.9[54] < ΔV < 4.0 Indium gallium nitride (InGaN) / Gallium(III) nitride (GaN)
Gallium(III) phosphide (GaP)
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP)
Aluminium gallium phosphide (AlGaP)
Blue 450 < λ < 500 2.48 < ΔV < 3.7 Zinc selenide (ZnSe)
Indium gallium nitride (InGaN)
Silicon carbide (SiC) as substrate
Silicon (Si) as substrate – (under development)
Violet 400 < λ < 450 2.76 < ΔV < 4.0 Indium gallium nitride (InGaN)
Purple multiple types 2.48 < ΔV < 3.7 Dual blue/red LEDs,
blue with red phosphor,
or white with purple plastic
Ultraviolet λ < 400 3.1 < ΔV < 4.4 Diamond (235 nm)[55]
Boron nitride (215 nm)[56][57]
Aluminium nitride (AlN) (210 nm)[58]
Aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN)
Aluminium gallium indium nitride (AlGaInN) – (down to 210 nm)[59]
Pink multiple types ΔV ~ 3.3[60] Blue with one or two phosphor layers:
yellow with red, orange or pink phosphor added afterwards,
or white with pink pigment or dye. [61]
White Broad spectrum ΔV = 3.5 Blue/UV diode with yellow phosphor  

[edit]Ultraviolet and blue LEDs

Blue LEDs

Current bright blue LEDs are based on the wide band gap semiconductors GaN (gallium nitride) and InGaN (indium gallium nitride). They can be added to existing red and green LEDs to produce the impression of white light, though white LEDs today rarely use this principle.

The first blue LEDs using gallium nitride were made in 1971 by Jacques Pankove at RCA Laboratories.[62] These devices had too little light output to be of practical use and research into gallium nitride devices slowed. In August 1989, Cree Inc. introduced the first commercially available blue LED based on the indirect bandgap semiconductor, silicon carbide.[63] SiC LEDs had very low efficiency, no more than about 0.03%, but did emit in the blue portion of the visible light spectrum.

In the late 1980s, key breakthroughs in GaN epitaxial growth and p-type doping[64] ushered in the modern era of GaN-based optoelectronic devices. Building upon this foundation, in 1993 high-brightness blue LEDs were demonstrated. Efficiency (light energy produced vs. electrical energy used) reached 10%.[65] High-brightness blue LEDs invented by Shuji Nakamura of Nichia Corporation using gallium nitride revolutionized LED lighting, making high-power light sources practical.

By the late 1990s, blue LEDs had become widely available. They have an active region consisting of one or more InGaN quantum wellssandwiched between thicker layers of GaN, called cladding layers. By varying the relative InN-GaN fraction in the InGaN quantum wells, the light emission can be varied from violet to amber. AlGaN aluminium gallium nitride of varying AlN fraction can be used to manufacture the cladding and quantum well layers for ultraviolet LEDs, but these devices have not yet reached the level of efficiency and technological maturity of the InGaN-GaN blue/green devices. If the active quantum well layers are GaN, instead of alloyed InGaN or AlGaN, the device will emit near-ultraviolet light with wavelengths around 350–370 nm. Green LEDs manufactured from the InGaN-GaN system are far more efficient and brighter than green LEDs produced with non-nitride material systems.

With nitrides containing aluminium, most often AlGaN and AlGaInN, even shorter wavelengths are achievable. Ultraviolet LEDs in a range of wavelengths are becoming available on the market. Near-UV emitters at wavelengths around 375–395 nm are already cheap and often encountered, for example, as black light lamp replacements for inspection of anti-counterfeiting UV watermarks in some documents and paper currencies. Shorter-wavelength diodes, while substantially more expensive, are commercially available for wavelengths down to 247 nm.[66] As the photosensitivity of microorganisms approximately matches the absorption spectrum of DNA, with a peak at about 254 nm, UV LED emitting at 250–270 nm are to be expected in prospective disinfection and sterilization devices. Recent research has shown that commercially available UVA LEDs (365 nm) are already effective disinfection and sterilization devices.[67]

Deep-UV wavelengths were obtained in laboratories using aluminium nitride (210 nm),[58] boron nitride (215 nm)[56][57] and diamond (235 nm).[55]

[edit]White light

There are two primary ways of producing high-intensity white-light using LEDs. One is to use individual LEDs that emit three primary colors[68]—red, green, and blue—and then mix all the colors to form white light. The other is to use a phosphor material to convert monochromatic light from a blue or UV LED to broad-spectrum white light, much in the same way a fluorescent light bulb works.

Due to metamerism, it is possible to have quite different spectra that appear white.

[edit]RGB systems

Combined spectral curves for blue, yellow-green, and high-brightness red solid-state semiconductor LEDs. FWHM spectral bandwidth is approximately 24–27 nm for all three colors.

White light can be formed by mixing differently colored lights; the most common method is to use red, green, and blue (RGB). Hence the method is called multi-color white LEDs (sometimes referred to as RGB LEDs). Because these need electronic circuits to control the blending and diffusion of different colors, and because the individual color LEDs typically have slightly different emission patterns (leading to variation of the color depending on direction) even if they are made as a single unit, these are seldom used to produce white lighting. Nevertheless, this method is particularly interesting in many uses because of the flexibility of mixing different colors,[69] and, in principle, this mechanism also has higher quantum efficiency in producing white light.

There are several types of multi-color white LEDs: di-tri-, and tetrachromatic white LEDs. Several key factors that play among these different methods, include color stability, color rendering capability, and luminous efficacy. Often, higher efficiency will mean lower color rendering, presenting a trade-off between the luminous efficiency and color rendering. For example, the dichromatic white LEDs have the best luminous efficacy (120 lm/W), but the lowest color rendering capability. However, although tetrachromatic white LEDs have excellent color rendering capability, they often have poor luminous efficiency. Trichromatic white LEDs are in between, having both good luminous efficacy (>70 lm/W) and fair color rendering capability.

Multi-color LEDs offer not merely another means to form white light but a new means to form light of different colors. Most perceivable colors can be formed by mixing different amounts of three primary colors. This allows precise dynamic color control. As more effort is devoted to investigating this method, multi-color LEDs should have profound influence on the fundamental method that we use to produce and control light color. However, before this type of LED can play a role on the market, several technical problems need solving. These include that this type of LED’s emission power decays exponentially with rising temperature,[70] resulting in a substantial change in color stability. Such problems inhibit and may preclude industrial use. Thus, many new package designs aimed at solving this problem have been proposed and their results are now being reproduced by researchers and scientists.

[edit]Phosphor-based LEDs

Spectrum of a “white” LED clearly showing blue light directly emitted by the GaN-based LED (peak at about 465 nm) and the more broadband Stokes-shifted light emitted by the Ce3+:YAG phosphor, which emits at roughly 500–700 nm.

This method involves coating LEDs of one color (mostly blue LEDs made of InGaN) with phosphor of different colors to form white light; the resultant LEDs are called phosphor-based white LEDs.[71] A fraction of the blue light undergoes the Stokes shift being transformed from shorter wavelengths to longer. Depending on the color of the original LED, phosphors of different colors can be employed. If several phosphor layers of distinct colors are applied, the emitted spectrum is broadened, effectively raising the color rendering index (CRI) value of a given LED.[72]

Phosphor-based LEDs efficiency losses are due to the heat loss from the Stokes shift and also other phosphor-related degradation issues. Its efficiencies compared to normal LEDs are dependent on the spectral distribution of the resultant light output and the original wavelength of the LED itself. The efficiency of a typical YAG-based yellow phosphor converted white LED ranges from 3 to 5 times the efficiency of the original blue LED. Due to the simplicity of manufacturing the phosphor method is still the most popular method for making high-intensity white LEDs. The design and production of a light source or light fixture using a monochrome emitter with phosphor conversion is simpler and cheaper than a complex RGB system, and the majority of high-intensity white LEDs presently on the market are manufactured using phosphor light conversion.

Among the challenges being faced to improve the efficiency of LED-based white light sources are the development of more efficient phosphors as well as the development of more efficient green LEDs. The theoretical maximum for green LEDs is at 683 lumens per watt but today few Green LEDs exceed even 100 lumens per watt. Today the most efficient yellow phosphor is still the YAG phosphor, with less than 10% Stoke shift loss. Losses attributable to internal optical losses due to re-absorption in the LED chip and in the LED packaging itself account typically for another 10% to 30% of efficiency loss. Currently, in the area of phosphor LED development, much effort is being spent on optimizing these devices to higher light output and higher operation temperatures. For instance, the efficiency can be raised by adapting better package design or by using a more suitable type of phosphor. Conformal coating process is frequently used to address the issue of varying phosphor thickness.

The phosphor-based white LEDs encapsulate InGaN blue LEDs inside phosphor coated epoxy. A common yellow phosphor material is ceriumdoped yttrium aluminium garnet(Ce3+:YAG).

White LEDs can also be made by coating near-ultraviolet (NUV) LEDs with a mixture of high-efficiency europium-based phosphors that emit red and blue, plus copper and aluminium-doped zinc sulfide (ZnS:Cu, Al) that emits green. This is a method analogous to the way fluorescent lamps work. This method is less efficient than blue LEDs with YAG:Ce phosphor, as the Stokes shift is larger, so more energy is converted to heat, but yields light with better spectral characteristics, which render color better. Due to the higher radiative output of the ultraviolet LEDs than of the blue ones, both methods offer comparable brightness. A concern is that UV light may leak from a malfunctioning light source and cause harm to human eyes or skin.

[edit]Other white LEDs

Another method used to produce experimental white light LEDs used no phosphors at all and was based on homoepitaxially grown zinc selenide (ZnSe) on a ZnSe substrate that simultaneously emitted blue light from its active region and yellow light from the substrate.[73]

[edit]Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs)

Demonstration of a flexible OLEDdevice

In an organic light-emitting diode (OLED), the electroluminescent material comprising the emissive layer of the diode is an organic compound. The organic material is electrically conductive due to the delocalization of pi electrons caused by conjugation over all or part of the molecule, and the material therefore functions as an organic semiconductor.[74] The organic materials can be small organic moleculesin a crystalline phase, or polymers.

The potential advantages of OLEDs include thin, low-cost displays with a low driving voltage, wide viewing angle, and high contrast and color gamut.[75] Polymer LEDs have the added benefit of printable[76][77] and flexible[78] displays. OLEDs have been used to make visual displays for portable electronic devices such as cellphones, digital cameras, and MP3 players while possible future uses include lighting and televisions.[75]

[edit]Quantum dot LEDs (experimental)

Quantum dots (QD) are semiconductor nanocrystals that possess unique optical properties.[79] Their emission color can be tuned from the visible throughout the infrared spectrum. This allows quantum dot LEDs to create almost any color on the CIE diagram. This provides more color options and better color rendering than white LEDs.[citation needed] Quantum dot LEDs are available in the same package types as traditional phosphor-based LEDs.[citation needed]One example of this is a method developed by Michael Bowers, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, involving coating a blue LED with quantum dots that glow white in response to the blue light from the LED. This method emits a warm, yellowish-white light similar to that made by incandescent bulbs.[80] Quantum dots are also being considered for use in white light-emitting diodes in liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions.[81]

The major difficulty in using quantum dots-based LEDs is the insufficient stability of QDs under prolonged irradiation.[citation needed] In February 2011 scientists at PlasmaChem GmbH could synthesize quantum dots for LED applications and build a light converter on their basis, which could efficiently convert light from blue to any other color for many hundred hours.[citation needed] Such QDs can be used to emit visible or near infrared light of any wavelength being excited by light with a shorter wavelength.


LEDs are produced in a variety of shapes and sizes. The 5 mm cylindrical package (red, fifth from the left) is the most common, estimated at 80% of world production.[citation needed] The color of the plastic lens is often the same as the actual color of light emitted, but not always. For instance, purple plastic is often used for infrared LEDs, and most blue devices have clear housings. There are also LEDs in surface-mount technology (SMT) packages, such as those found on blinkies and on cell phone keypads (not shown).

The main types of LEDs are miniature, high power devices and custom designs such as alphanumeric or multi-color.[82]



Different sized LEDs. 8 mm, 5 mm and 3 mm, with a wooden match-stick for scale

These are mostly single-die LEDs used as indicators, and they come in various sizes from 2 mm to 8 mm, through-hole and surface mountpackages. They usually do not use a separate heat sink.[83] Typical current ratings ranges from around 1 mA to above 20 mA. The small size sets a natural upper boundary on power consumption due to heat caused by the high current density and need for a heat sink.

A green surface-mount LED mounted on an Arduino circuit board

Common package shapes include round, with a domed or flat top, rectangular with a flat top (as used in bar-graph displays), and triangular or square with a flat top. The encapsulation may also be clear or tinted to improve contrast and viewing angle.

There are three main categories of miniature single die LEDs:

  • Low-current — typically rated for 2 mA at around 2 V (approximately 4 mW consumption).
  • Standard — 20 mA LEDs at around 2 V (approximately 40 mW) for red, orange, yellow, and green, and 20 mA at 4–5 V (approximately 100 mW) for blue, violet, and white.
  • Ultra-high-output — 20 mA at approximately 2 V or 4–5 V, designed for viewing in direct sunlight.

Five- and twelve-volt LEDs are ordinary miniature LEDs that incorporate a suitable series resistor for direct connection to a 5 V or 12 V supply.


Medium-power LEDs are often through-hole-mounted and used when an output of a few lumen is needed. They sometimes have the diode mounted to four leads (two cathode leads, two anode leads) for better heat conduction and carry an integrated lens. An example of this is the Superflux package, from Philips Lumileds. These LEDs are most commonly used in light panels, emergency lighting, and automotive tail-lights. Due to the larger amount of metal in the LED, they are able to handle higher currents (around 100 mA). The higher current allows for the higher light output required for tail-lights and emergency lighting.


High-power light-emitting diodes (LuxeonLumileds)

High-power LEDs (HPLED) can be driven at currents from hundreds of mA to more than an ampere, compared with the tens of mA for other LEDs. Some can emit over a thousand lumens.[84][85] Since overheating is destructive, the HPLEDs must be mounted on a heat sink to allow for heat dissipation. If the heat from a HPLED is not removed, the device will fail in seconds. One HPLED can often replace an incandescent bulb in a flashlight, or be set in an array to form a powerful LED lamp.

Some well-known HPLEDs in this category are the Lumileds Rebel Led, Osram Opto Semiconductors Golden Dragon, and Cree X-lamp. As of September 2009, some HPLEDs manufactured by Cree Inc. now exceed 105 lm/W [86] (e.g. the XLamp XP-G LED chip emitting Cool White light) and are being sold in lamps intended to replace incandescent, halogen, and even fluorescent lights, as LEDs grow more cost competitive.

LEDs have been developed by Seoul Semiconductor that can operate on AC power without the need for a DC converter. For each half-cycle, part of the LED emits light and part is dark, and this is reversed during the next half-cycle. The efficacy of this type of HPLED is typically 40 lm/W.[87] A large number of LED elements in series may be able to operate directly from line voltage. In 2009, Seoul Semiconductor released a high DC voltage capable of being driven from AC power with a simple controlling circuit. The low-power dissipation of these LEDs affords them more flexibility than the original AC LED design.[88]

[edit]Application-specific variations

  • Flashing LEDs are used as attention seeking indicators without requiring external electronics. Flashing LEDs resemble standard LEDs but they contain an integrated multivibratorcircuit that causes the LED to flash with a typical period of one second. In diffused lens LEDs this is visible as a small black dot. Most flashing LEDs emit light of one color, but more sophisticated devices can flash between multiple colors and even fade through a color sequence using RGB color mixing.
  • Bi-color LEDs are two different LED emitters in one case. There are two types of these. One type consists of two dies connected to the same two leads antiparallel to each other. Current flow in one direction emits one color, and current in the opposite direction emits the other color. The other type consists of two dies with separate leads for both dies and another lead for common anode or cathode, so that they can be controlled independently.
  • Tri-color LEDs are three different LED emitters in one case. Each emitter is connected to a separate lead so they can be controlled independently. A four-lead arrangement is typical with one common lead (anode or cathode) and an additional lead for each color.
  • RGB LEDs are Tri-color LEDs with red, green, and blue emitters, in general using a four-wire connection with one common lead (anode or cathode). These LEDs can have either common positive or common negative leads. Others however, have only two leads (positive and negative) and have a built in tiny electronic control unit.

Calculator LED display, 1970s

  • Alphanumeric LED displays are available in seven-segment and starburst format. Seven-segment displays handle all numbers and a limited set of letters. Starburst displays can display all letters. Seven-segment LED displays were in widespread use in the 1970s and 1980s, but rising use of liquid crystal displays, with their lower power needs and greater display flexibility, has reduced the popularity of numeric and alphanumeric LED displays.

[edit]Considerations for use

[edit]Power sources

Main article: LED power sources

The current/voltage characteristic of an LED is similar to other diodes, in that the current is dependent exponentially on the voltage (see Shockley diode equation). This means that a small change in voltage can cause a large change in current. If the maximum voltage rating is exceeded by a small amount, the current rating may be exceeded by a large amount, potentially damaging or destroying the LED. The typical solution is to use constant-current power supplies, or driving the LED at a voltage much below the maximum rating. Since most common power sources (batteries, mains) are not constant-current sources, most LED fixtures must include a power converter. However, the I/V curve of nitride-based LEDs is quite steep above the knee and gives an If of a few milliamperes at a Vf of 3 V, making it possible to power a nitride-based LED from a 3 V battery such as a coin cell without the need for a current-limiting resistor.

[edit]Electrical polarity

As with all diodes, current flows easily from p-type to n-type material.[89] However, no current flows and no light is emitted if a small voltage is applied in the reverse direction. If the reverse voltage grows large enough to exceed the breakdown voltage, a large current flows and the LED may be damaged. If the reverse current is sufficiently limited to avoid damage, the reverse-conducting LED is a useful noise diode.

[edit]Safety and health

The vast majority of devices containing LEDs are “safe under all conditions of normal use”, and so are classified as “Class 1 LED product”/”LED Klasse 1”. At present, only a few LEDs—extremely bright LEDs that also have a tightly focused viewing angle of 8° or less—could, in theory, cause temporary blindness, and so are classified as “Class 2”.[90] In general, laser safety regulations—and the “Class 1”, “Class 2”, etc. system—also apply to LEDs.[91]

While LEDs have the advantage over fluorescent lamps that they do not contain mercury, they may contain other hazardous metals such as lead and arsenic. A study published in 2011 states: “According to federal standards, LEDs are not hazardous except for low-intensity red LEDs, which leached Pb [lead] at levels exceeding regulatory limits (186 mg/L; regulatory limit: 5). However, according to California regulations, excessive levels of copper (up to 3892 mg/kg; limit: 2500), Pb (up to 8103 mg/kg; limit: 1000), nickel (up to 4797 mg/kg; limit: 2000), or silver (up to 721 mg/kg; limit: 500) render all except low-intensity yellow LEDs hazardous.”[92]


  • Efficiency: LEDs emit more light per watt than incandescent light bulbs.[93] Their efficiency is not affected by shape and size, unlike fluorescent light bulbs or tubes.
  • Color: LEDs can emit light of an intended color without using any color filters as traditional lighting methods need. This is more efficient and can lower initial costs.
  • Size: LEDs can be very small (smaller than 2 mm2[94]) and are easily populated onto printed circuit boards.
  • On/Off time: LEDs light up very quickly. A typical red indicator LED will achieve full brightness in under a microsecond.[95] LEDs used in communications devices can have even faster response times.
  • Cycling: LEDs are ideal for uses subject to frequent on-off cycling, unlike fluorescent lamps that fail faster when cycled often, or HID lamps that require a long time before restarting.
  • Dimming: LEDs can very easily be dimmed either by pulse-width modulation or lowering the forward current.[96]
  • Cool light: In contrast to most light sources, LEDs radiate very little heat in the form of IR that can cause damage to sensitive objects or fabrics. Wasted energy is dispersed as heat through the base of the LED.
  • Slow failure: LEDs mostly fail by dimming over time, rather than the abrupt failure of incandescent bulbs.[97]
  • Lifetime: LEDs can have a relatively long useful life. One report estimates 35,000 to 50,000 hours of useful life, though time to complete failure may be longer.[98] Fluorescent tubes typically are rated at about 10,000 to 15,000 hours, depending partly on the conditions of use, and incandescent light bulbs at 1,000–2,000 hours.
  • Shock resistance: LEDs, being solid state components, are difficult to damage with external shock, unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which are fragile.
  • Focus: The solid package of the LED can be designed to focus its light. Incandescent and fluorescent sources often require an external reflector to collect light and direct it in a usable manner.


  • High initial price: LEDs are currently more expensive, price per lumen, on an initial capital cost basis, than most conventional lighting technologies. As of 2010, the cost per thousand lumens (kilolumen) was about $18. The price is expected to reach $2/kilolumen by 2015.[99] The additional expense partially stems from the relatively low lumen output and the drive circuitry and power supplies needed.
  • Temperature dependence: LED performance largely depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment. Over-driving an LED in high ambient temperatures may result in overheating the LED package, eventually leading to device failure. An adequate heat sink is needed to maintain long life. This is especially important in automotive, medical, and military uses where devices must operate over a wide range of temperatures, and need low failure rates.
  • Voltage sensitivity: LEDs must be supplied with the voltage above the threshold and a current below the rating. This can involve series resistors or current-regulated power supplies.[100]
  • Light quality: Most cool-white LEDs have spectra that differ significantly from a black body radiator like the sun or an incandescent light. The spike at 460 nm and dip at 500 nm can cause the color of objects to be perceived differently under cool-white LED illumination than sunlight or incandescent sources, due to metamerism,[101] red surfaces being rendered particularly badly by typical phosphor-based cool-white LEDs. However, the color rendering properties of common fluorescent lamps are often inferior to what is now available in state-of-art white LEDs.
  • Area light source: Single LEDs do not approximate a point source of light giving a spherical light distribution, but rather a lambertian distribution. So LEDs are difficult to apply to uses needing a spherical light field. LEDs cannot provide divergence below a few degrees. In contrast, lasers can emit beams with divergences of 0.2 degrees or less.[102]
  • Electrical Polarity: Unlike incandescent light bulbs, which illuminate regardless of the electrical polarity, LEDs will only light with correct electrical polarity.
  • Blue hazard: There is a concern that blue LEDs and cool-white LEDs are now capable of exceeding safe limits of the so-called blue-light hazard as defined in eye safety specifications such as ANSI/IESNA RP-27.1–05: Recommended Practice for Photobiological Safety for Lamp and Lamp Systems.[103][104]
  • Blue pollution: Because cool-white LEDs with high color temperature emit proportionally more blue light than conventional outdoor light sources such as high-pressure sodium vapor lamps, the strong wavelength dependence of Rayleigh scattering means that cool-white LEDs can cause more light pollution than other light sources. The International Dark-Sky Association discourages using white light sources with correlated color temperature above 3,000 K.[105][not in citation given]
  • Droop: The efficiency of LEDs tends to decrease as one increases current.[106][42][107][108]


In general, all the LED products can be divided into two major parts, the public lighting and indoor lighting. LED uses fall into four major categories:

  • Visual signals where light goes more or less directly from the source to the human eye, to convey a message or meaning.
  • Illumination where light is reflected from objects to give visual response of these objects.
  • Measuring and interacting with processes involving no human vision.[109]
  • Narrow band light sensors where LEDs operate in a reverse-bias mode and respond to incident light, instead of emitting light.

For more than 70 years, until the LED, practically all lighting was incandescent and fluorescent with the first fluorescent light only being commercially available after the 1939 World’s Fair.

[edit]Indicators and signs

The low energy consumption, low maintenance and small size of modern LEDs has led to uses as status indicators and displays on a variety of equipment and installations. Large-areaLED displays are used as stadium displays and as dynamic decorative displays. Thin, lightweight message displays are used at airports and railway stations, and as destination displaysfor trains, buses, trams, and ferries.

One-color light is well suited for traffic lights and signals, exit signsemergency vehicle lighting, ships’ navigation lights or lanterns (chromacity and luminance standards being set under the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, Annex I and the CIE) and LED-based Christmas lights. In cold climates, LED traffic lights may remain snow covered.[110] Red or yellow LEDs are used in indicator and alphanumeric displays in environments where night vision must be retained: aircraft cockpits, submarine and ship bridges, astronomy observatories, and in the field, e.g. night time animal watching and military field use.

Because of their long life and fast switching times, LEDs have been used in brake lights for cars high-mounted brake lights, trucks, and buses, and in turn signals for some time, but many vehicles now use LEDs for their rear light clusters. The use in brakes improves safety, due to a great reduction in the time needed to light fully, or faster rise time, up to 0.5 second faster than an incandescent bulb. This gives drivers behind more time to react. It is reported that at normal highway speeds, this equals one car length equivalent in increased time to react. In a dual intensity circuit (rear markers and brakes) if the LEDs are not pulsed at a fast enough frequency, they can create a phantom array, where ghost images of the LED will appear if the eyes quickly scan across the array. White LED headlamps are starting to be used. Using LEDs has styling advantages because LEDs can form much thinner lights than incandescent lamps with parabolic reflectors.

Due to the relative cheapness of low output LEDs, they are also used in many temporary uses such as glowsticksthrowies, and the photonic textile Lumalive. Artists have also used LEDs for LED art.

Weather/all-hazards radio receivers with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) have three LEDs: red for warnings, orange for watches, and yellow for advisories & statements whenever issued.


Main article: LED lamp

With the development of high-efficiency and high-power LEDs, it has become possible to use LEDs in lighting and illumination. Replacement light bulbs have been made, as well as dedicated fixtures and LED lamps. To encourage the shift to very high efficiency lighting, the US Department of Energy has created the L Prize competition. The Philips Lighting North America LED bulb won the first competition on August 3, 2011 after successfully completing 18 months of intensive field, lab, and product testing.[111]

LEDs are used as street lights and in other architectural lighting where color changing is used. The mechanical robustness and long lifetime is used in automotive lighting on cars, motorcycles, and bicycle lights.

LED street lights are employed on poles and in parking garages. In 2007, the Italian village Torraca was the first place to convert its entire illumination system to LEDs.[112]

LEDs are used in aviation lightingAirbus has used LED lighting in their Airbus A320 Enhanced since 2007, and Boeing plans its use in the 787. LEDs are also being used now in airport and heliport lighting. LED airport fixtures currently include medium-intensity runway lights, runway centerline lights, taxiway centerline and edge lights, guidance signs, and obstruction lighting.

LEDs are also suitable for backlighting for LCD televisions and lightweight laptop displays and light source for DLP projectors (See LED TV). RGB LEDs raise the color gamut by as much as 45%. Screens for TV and computer displays can be made thinner using LEDs for backlighting.[113]

LEDs are used increasingly in aquarium lights. In particular for reef aquariums, LED lights provide an efficient light source with less heat output to help maintain optimal aquarium temperatures. LED-based aquarium fixtures also have the advantage of being manually adjustable to emit a specific color-spectrum for ideal coloration of corals, fish, and invertebrates while optimizing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which raises growth and sustainability of photosynthetic life such as corals, anemones, clams, and macroalgae. These fixtures can be electronically programmed to simulate various lighting conditions throughout the day, reflecting phases of the sun and moon for a dynamic reef experience. LED fixtures typically cost up to five times as much as similarly rated fluorescent or high-intensity discharge lighting designed for reef aquariums and are not as high output to date.

The lack of IR or heat radiation makes LEDs ideal for stage lights using banks of RGB LEDs that can easily change color and decrease heating from traditional stage lighting, as well as medical lighting where IR-radiation can be harmful. In energy conservation, LEDs lower heat output also means air conditioning (cooling) systems have less heat to dispose of, reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

LEDs are small, durable and need little power, so they are used in hand held devices such as flashlights. LED strobe lights or camera flashes operate at a safe, low voltage, instead of the 250+ volts commonly found in xenon flashlamp-based lighting. This is especially useful in cameras on mobile phones, where space is at a premium and bulky voltage-raising circuitry is undesirable.

LEDs are used for infrared illumination in night vision uses including security cameras. A ring of LEDs around a video camera, aimed forward into a retroreflective background, allowschroma keying in video productions.

LEDs are now used commonly in all market areas from commercial to home use: standard lighting, AV, stage, theatrical, architectural, and public installations, and wherever artificial light is used.

LEDs are increasingly finding uses in medical and educational applications, for example as mood enhancement[citation needed], and new technologies such as AmBX, exploiting LED versatility. NASA has even sponsored research for the use of LEDs to promote health for astronauts.[114]

[edit]Smart lighting

Light can be used to transmit broadband data, which is already implemented in IrDA standards using infrared LEDs. Because LEDs can cycle on and off millions of times per second, they can be wireless transmitters and access points for data transport.[115] Lasers can also be modulated in this manner.

[edit]Sustainable lighting

Efficient lighting is needed for sustainable architecture. In 2009, a typical 13-watt LED lamp emitted 450 to 650 lumens,[116] which is equivalent to a standard 40-watt incandescent bulb. In 2011, LEDs have become more efficient, so that a 6-watt LED can easily achieve the same results.[117] A standard 40-watt incandescent bulb has an expected lifespan of 1,000 hours, whereas an LED can continue to operate with reduced efficiency for more than 50,000 hours, 50 times longer than the incandescent bulb.

[edit]Energy consumption

In the US, one kilowatt-hour of electricity will cause 1.34 pounds (610 g) of CO2 emission.[118] Assuming the average light bulb is on for 10 hours a day, one 40-watt incandescent bulb will cause 196 pounds (89 kg) of CO2 emission per year. The 6-watt LED equivalent will only cause 30 pounds (14 kg) of CO2 over the same time span. A building’s carbon footprint from lighting can be reduced by 85% by exchanging all incandescent bulbs for new LEDs.

[edit]Economically sustainable

LED light bulbs could be a cost-effective option for lighting a home or office space because of their very long lifetimes. Consumer use of LEDs as a replacement for conventional lighting system is currently hampered by the high cost and low efficiency of available products. 2009 DOE testing results showed an average efficacy of 35 lm/W, below that of typical CFLs, and as low as 9 lm/W, worse than standard incandescents.[116] However, as of 2011, there are LED bulbs available as efficient as 150 lm/W and even inexpensive low-end models typically exceed 50 lm/W. The high initial cost of commercial LED bulbs is due to the expensive sapphire substrate, which is key to the production process. The sapphire apparatus must be coupled with a mirror-like collector to reflect light that would otherwise be wasted.

[edit]Other applications

The light from LEDs can be modulated very quickly so they are used extensively in optical fiber and Free Space Optics communications. This include remote controls, such as for TVs, VCRs, and LED Computers, where infrared LEDs are often used. Opto-isolators use an LED combined with a photodiode or phototransistor to provide a signal path with electrical isolation between two circuits. This is especially useful in medical equipment where the signals from a low-voltage sensor circuit (usually battery-powered) in contact with a living organism must be electrically isolated from any possible electrical failure in a recording or monitoring device operating at potentially dangerous voltages. An optoisolator also allows information to be transferred between circuits not sharing a common ground potential.

Many sensor systems rely on light as the signal source. LEDs are often ideal as a light source due to the requirements of the sensors. LEDs are used as movement sensors, for example in optical computer mice. The Nintendo Wii‘s sensor bar uses infrared LEDs. Pulse oximeters use them for measuring oxygen saturation. Some flatbed scanners use arrays of RGB LEDs rather than the typical cold-cathode fluorescent lamp as the light source. Having independent control of three illuminated colors allows the scanner to calibrate itself for more accurate color balance, and there is no need for warm-up. Further, its sensors only need be monochromatic, since at any one time the page being scanned is only lit by one color of light.Touch sensing: Since LEDs can also be used as photodiodes, they can be used for both photo emission and detection. This could be used in for example a touch-sensing screen that register reflected light from a finger or stylus.[119]

Many materials and biological systems are sensitive to or dependent on light. Grow lights use LEDs to increase photosynthesis in plants[120] and bacteria and viruses can be removed from water and other substances using UV LEDs for sterilization.[67] Other uses are as UV curing devices for some ink and coating methods, and in LED printers.

Plant growers are interested in LEDs because they are more energy-efficient, emit less heat (can damage plants close to hot lamps), and can provide the optimum light frequency for plant growth and bloom periods compared to currently used grow lights: HPS (high-pressure sodium), MH (metal halide) or CFL/low-energy. However, LEDs have not replaced these grow lights due to higher price. As mass production and LED kits develop, the LED products will become cheaper.

LEDs have also been used as a medium-quality voltage reference in electronic circuits. The forward voltage drop (e.g., about 1.7 V for a normal red LED) can be used instead of a Zener diode in low-voltage regulators. Red LEDs have the flattest I/V curve above the knee. Nitride-based LEDs have a fairly steep I/V curve and are useless for this purpose. Although LED forward voltage is far more current-dependent than a good Zener, Zener diodes are not widely available below voltages of about 3 V.

[edit]Light sources for machine vision systems

Machine vision systems often require bright and homogeneous illumination, so features of interest are easier to process. LEDs are often used for this purpose, and this is likely to remain one of their major uses until price drops low enough to make signaling and illumination uses more widespread. Barcode scanners are the most common example of machine vision, and many low cost ones use red LEDs instead of lasers. Optical computer mice are also another example of LEDs in machine vision, as it is used to provide an even light source on the surface for the miniature camera within the mouse. LEDs constitute a nearly ideal light source for machine vision systems for several reasons:

The size of the illuminated field is usually comparatively small and machine vision systems are often quite expensive, so the cost of the light source is usually a minor concern. However, it might not be easy to replace a broken light source placed within complex machinery, and here the long service life of LEDs is a benefit.

LED elements tend to be small and can be placed with high density over flat or even-shaped substrates (PCBs etc.) so that bright and homogeneous sources that direct light from tightly controlled directions on inspected parts can be designed. This can often be obtained with small, low-cost lenses and diffusers, helping to achieve high light densities with control over lighting levels and homogeneity. LED sources can be shaped in several configurations (spot lights for reflective illumination; ring lights for coaxial illumination; back lights for contour illumination; linear assemblies; flat, large format panels; dome sources for diffused, omnidirectional illumination).

LEDs can be easily strobed (in the microsecond range and below) and synchronized with imaging. High-power LEDs are available allowing well-lit images even with very short light pulses. This is often used to obtain crisp and sharp “still” images of quickly moving parts.

LEDs come in several different colors and wavelengths, allowing easy use of the best color for each need, where different color may provide better visibility of features of interest. Having a precisely known spectrum allows tightly matched filters to be used to separate informative bandwidth or to reduce disturbing effects of ambient light. LEDs usually operate at comparatively low working temperatures, simplifying heat management and dissipation. This allows using plastic lenses, filters, and diffusers. Waterproof units can also easily be designed, allowing use in harsh or wet environments (food, beverage, oil industries).

[edit]See also

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[edit]Further reading

[edit]External links

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Electronic components

Epitaxy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2012)
“Epitaxis” redirects here. For the main action of a classical drama, see Epitasis. For the phenomenon involving the modification of one gene’s effects by one or more other genes, see Epistasis.

Epitaxy refers to the deposition of a crystalline overlayer on a crystalline substrate, where the overlayer is in registry with the substrate. In other words, there must be one or more preferred orientations of the overlayer with respect to the substrate for this to be termed epitaxial growth. The overlayer is called an epitaxial film or epitaxial layer. The term epitaxy comes from the Greek roots epi, meaning “above”, and taxis, meaning “in ordered manner”. It can be translated “to arrange upon”. For most technological applications, it is desired that the deposited material form a crystalline overlayer that has one well-defined orientation with respect to the substrate crystal structure (single-domain epitaxy).

Epitaxial films may be grown from gaseous or liquid precursors. Because the substrate acts as a seed crystal, the deposited film may lock into one or more crystallographic orientations with respect to the substrate crystal. If the overlayer either forms a random orientation with respect to the substrate or does not form an ordered overlayer, this is termed non-epitaxial growth. If an epitaxial film is deposited on a substrate of the same composition, the process is called homoepitaxy; otherwise it is called heteroepitaxy.

Homoepitaxy is a kind of epitaxy performed with only one material. In homoepitaxy, a crystalline film is grown on a substrate or film of the same material. This technology is used to grow a film which is more pure than the substrate and to fabricate layers having different doping levels. In academic literature, homoepitaxy is often abbreviated to “homoepi”.

Heteroepitaxy is a kind of epitaxy performed with materials that are different from each other. In heteroepitaxy, a crystalline film grows on a crystalline substrate or film of a different material. This technology is often used to grow crystalline films of materials for which crystals cannot otherwise be obtained and to fabricate integrated crystalline layers of different materials. Examples include gallium nitride (GaN) on sapphire, aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) on gallium arsenide (GaAs) or diamond or iridium[1].

Heterotopotaxy is a process similar to heteroepitaxy except for the fact that thin film growth is not limited to two dimensional growth. Here the substrate is similar only in structure to the thin film material.

Epitaxy is used in silicon-based manufacturing processes for BJTs and modern CMOS, but it is particularly important for compound semiconductors such as gallium arsenide. Manufacturing issues include control of the amount and uniformity of the deposition’s resistivity and thickness, the cleanliness and purity of the surface and the chamber atmosphere, the prevention of the typically much more highly doped substrate wafer’s diffusion of dopant to the new layers, imperfections of the growth process, and protecting the surfaces during the manufacture and handling.



[edit] Applications

Epitaxy is used in nanotechnology and in semiconductor fabrication. Indeed, epitaxy is the only affordable method of high quality crystal growth for many semiconductor materials, including computers.

[edit] Methods

Epitaxial silicon is usually grown using vapor-phase epitaxy (VPE), a modification of chemical vapor deposition. Molecular-beam and liquid-phase epitaxy (MBE and LPE) are also used, mainly for compound semiconductors. Solid-phase epitaxy is used primarily for crystal-damage healing.

[edit] Vapor-phase

Silicon is most commonly deposited by dosing with silicon tetrachloride and hydrogen at approximately 1200 °C:

SiCl4(g) + 2H2(g) ↔ Si(s) + 4HCl(g)

This reaction is reversible, and the growth rate depends strongly upon the proportion of the two source gases. Growth rates above 2 micrometres per minute produce polycrystalline silicon, and negative growth rates (etching) may occur if too much hydrogen chloride byproduct is present. (In fact, hydrogen chloride may be added intentionally to etch the wafer.) An additional etching reaction competes with the deposition reaction:

SiCl4(g) + Si(s) ↔ 2SiCl2(g)

Silicon VPE may also use silane, dichlorosilane, and trichlorosilane source gases. For instance, the silane reaction occurs at 650 °C in this way:

SiH4 → Si + 2H2

This reaction does not inadvertently etch the wafer, and takes place at lower temperatures than deposition from silicon tetrachloride. However, it will form a polycrystalline film unless tightly controlled, and it allows oxidizing species that leak into the reactor to contaminate the epitaxial layer with unwanted compounds such as silicon dioxide.

VPE is sometimes classified by the chemistry of the source gases, such as hydride VPE and metalorganic VPE.

[edit] Liquid-phase

Liquid phase epitaxy (LPE) is a method to grow semiconductor crystal layers from the melt on solid substrates. This happens at temperatures well below the melting point of the deposited semiconductor. The semiconductor is dissolved in the melt of another material. At conditions that are close to the equilibrium between dissolution and deposition, the deposition of the semiconductor crystal on the substrate is relatively fast and uniform. Mostly used substrate is indium phosphide (InP). Other substrates like glass or ceramic can be applied for special applications. To facilitate nucleation, and to avoid tension in the grown layer the thermal expansion coefficient of substrate and grown layer should be similar.

[edit] Solid-phase

Solid Phase Epitaxy (SPE) is a transition between the amorphous and crystalline phases of a material. It is usually done by first depositing a film of amorphous material on a crystalline substrate. The substrate is then heated to crystallize the film. The single crystal substrate serves as a template for crystal growth. The annealing step used to recrystallize or heal silicon layers amorphized during ion implantation is also considered one type of Solid Phase Epitaxy. The Impurity segregation and redistribution at the growing crystal-amorphus layer interface during this process is used to incorporate low-solubility dopants in metals and Silicon.[2]

[edit] Molecular-beam

In MBE, a source material is heated to produce an evaporated beam of particles. These particles travel through a very high vacuum (10−8 Pa; practically free space) to the substrate, where they condense. MBE has lower throughput than other forms of epitaxy. This technique is widely used for growing III-V semiconductor crystals.[3][4]

[edit] Doping

An epitaxial layer can be doped during deposition by adding impurities to the source gas, such as arsine, phosphine or diborane. The concentration of impurity in the gas phase determines its concentration in the deposited film. As in CVD, impurities change the deposition rate. Additionally, the high temperatures at which CVD is performed may allow dopants to diffuse into the growing layer from other layers in the wafer (“out-diffusion”). Also, dopants in the source gas, liberated by evaporation or wet etching of the surface, may diffuse into the epitaxial layer (“autodoping”). The dopant profiles of underlying layers change as well, however not as significantly.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ M. Schreck et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 192 (2001); doi: 10.1063/1.1337648
  2. ^ A. Polman et al., J. Appl. Phys., Vol. 75, No. 6, 15 March 1994
  3. ^ A. Y. Cho, “Growth of III\–V semiconductors by molecular beam epitaxy and their properties,” Thin Solid Films, vol. 100, pp. 291-317, 1983.
  4. ^ Cheng, K.-Y., “Molecular beam epitaxy technology of III-V compound semiconductors for optoelectronic applications,” Proceedings of the IEEE , vol.85, no.11, pp.1694-1714, Nov 1997 URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=649646&isnumber=14175

[edit] Notes

  • Jaeger, Richard C. (2002). “Film Deposition”. Introduction to Microelectronic Fabrication. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-201-44494-7. 

[edit] External links