LED technology at a glance
We show you the differences in the 5 most popular LED technologies.

LED technology (Light Emitting Diodes) is getting more and more important since the ban of the incandescent light bulb. An LED is a light-emitting semiconductor device (also called diode). Electric current flows through the diode and emits light. This can be done through infrared radiation or ultraviolet radiation which depends on the semiconductor material that is being used and the added atoms from the production of corresponding wavelengths.


LED technology is evolving. CREE already showed LED chips generating up to to 400lm / watts at a minimum pack size! What should be kept in mind: Lumen values are not everything if one wants to reasonably look at the topic LED. Of course light angle, color rendering index, light color and light intensity also play key roles.

Progress in OLED among different companies is also interesting to follow. For example, some manufacturers used OLED technology at Light + Building 2018. Let’s take a look at a list of which LED technologies are currently used in the lighting industry.

DIP LED Technology – “Dual in-line package”

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Definition

“Dual in-line package” LEDs are based on a very early variant of the LED technology. Mostly with an output of 0.06 W. This type with 2 wires is probably the best known diode of the PCB solderable LEDs in different colors. They were / are installed in many electronic equipments e. g. in order to give a standby signal or to illuminate advertising material.


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Lifespan

The luminosity decreases very quickly. After about 4,000 hours, the lumen loss is already over 20%. As a matter of fact, a DIP-LED only achieves a service life of 15,000 hours or less.

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Application

They were and are being used in electrical equipment to display e. g. the standby mode or for promotional advertising.

SMD LED Technology – “Surfaced Mounted Devices”

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Definition

SMD means “Surfaced Mounted Devices”. SMD components have a very compact design. A SMD-LED component is soldered directly to a copper-clad surface of the board. This construction allows for higher lumen values (lm on average 50-80 / Watts) and a longer total service life. The SMD chips are always have a number which provides information about the lumen values and the dimension e.g. “3528” means a module with 3.5 x 2.8 mm dimensions.

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Lifespan

The lumen loss is far less than with the DIP-LED. The service life is due to the excellent heat dissipation actually 50,000 hours or more.

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Application

Currently the most common LED chip in industrial and home lighting.

High-Power LED Technology – Chips over 0,65 Watts

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Definition

High-Power LEDs are chips with about 0.65 watts (usually operated with more than 20mA). In the lighting industry the 1-3W chips are often being used. They usually have more than 100lm / W per chip.

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Lifespan

Depending on the manufacturer, the lifespan can be from 30,000 to 50,000 hours and more, with a low lumen decrease. However, this depends largely on the heatsink used and the technical solution for heat dissipation.

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Application

A commonly used chip for very flat lamp constructions with increased light output requirements. With respective lenses, a higher radiation angle is achieved.

COB LED Technology – Chips for compact lamps

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Definition

COB is the abbreviation for a manufacturing process in microelectronics. For COB LEDs the semiconductor crystal is bonded directly onto the aluminum or ceramic board (PCB) and electrically connected to bonding wires. This allows for excellent heat dissipation and to pack more LED chips. This achieves a high lm / cm² density. In practice this means that with the COB technology even more compact lamp designs can be realized. With this 150-400lm / W and more can be achieved. COB LED come very handy for lamp manufacturers, as they can use ready-made components with fixed conditions.

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Lifespan

Also 30,000 – 50,000 hours and more with much less lumen decrease.

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Application

These days a very popular LED chip for the lighting industry. Especially for industrial lighting.

OLED Technology – “Organic LED”

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Definition

OLED is a self-luminous thin-film component made of organic semiconducting materials that differs from conventional inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In that the electric current density and luminance are lower and no single-crystalline materials are required. OLEDs are cheaper to produce compared to inorganic LEDs.


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Lifespan

With around 20,000 hours, the lifetime of OLEDs is currently worse than that of conventional light-emitting diodes, which is why use in the commercial lighting segment is still sporadic. But research is catching up. It is important for OLEDs to encapsulate oxygen and moisture so that the function of the organic material is not compromised. One advantage of this is that OLEDs are also interesting for outdoor areas.

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Application

Due to the flexibility of OLED and its extremely thin design, it is currently very interesting for manufacturers of displays, smartphones, monitors, etc. However, LED LCD models are significantly more durable. Due to the material properties, the use of OLEDs is almost inexhaustible. Experiments as flexible LED panels for lighting purposes, foil for windows that emit light at night, on wallpaper or as electronic paper have already been carried out and are gradually being launched as series products.


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