Light emitting diodes, or “LEDs”, are rapidly becoming the standard lighting solution for a multitude of commercial and industrial applications. First-generation LED’s were relegated to use as signal lights in electronic devices because of their high cost of production and limited light emitting intensity. As LED technology developed, costs came down as the color and intensity capabilities of LEDs expanded.
The basic concept of how a diode generates light has not changed. The LED itself is a device that allows electric current to flow in only one direction. As the current flows through the LED material, atoms in that material release electrons which interact with a second material to generate light. Advances that are leading to next-generation LEDs are coming in the lighting fixture design, thermal management, control systems for LEDs, and retrofitting that is allowing traditional incandescent lighting to be replaced by LED systems.
Quantum Dot and Control Systems
Quantum Dot LEDs are one of the more significant new generations of lighting to be used in residential and small-scale LED systems. Quantum Dot LEDs have been available since the mid-2000’s, but new manufacturing techniques and materials have led to orders of magnitude increases in the emission efficiency of Quantum Dot LEDs. The efficiency is coupled with lower power consumption, making Quantum Dot LED systems ideal for end users that are concerned with developing “green energy” and ecologically-friendly systems. Quantum Dot LEDs also provide a larger active lighting area with a product thickness of less than 0.5 mm. Samsung introduced the first television using Quantum Dot LED technology in 2015, continuing the industry drive to produce ever thinner and more flexible display screens.
LED control systems are reaping the benefits of mobile and wireless technology. These new systems allow banks of LED lights to be monitored and controlled in ways that achieve better efficiency and energy savings. Manufacturers are also incorporating smart technology into these control systems that allow them to read and react to ambient conditions without human intervention. The costs of these systems have dropped dramatically while their capabilities continue to expand.
Public Support for LED Innovation
Federal standards and regulations are pushing consumer and commercial lighting applications away from traditional incandescent lighting sources and into energy-efficient systems that include LEDs. Lighting component manufacturers have banded together to form “Zhaga”, a lighting industry consortium that is seeking to standardize LED lighting to facilitate the retrofitting of fluorescent and incandescent technology to work with LEDs. Zhaga has organized standardized screw patterns, power inputs, and lumen outputs to allow fixture manufacturers to make products that will work with the broadest possible range of LED lights. This industry cooperation will enable a more rapid shift to LED lighting, with a faster adoption of LED systems that satisfy demands for green energy applications in commercial, industrial, and residential environments.
The Next Generation of Sports Lighting is Coming
Some industry analysts expect the LED market to expand to $30 billion and more before 2025 as these next generation LEDs and LED control systems replace antiquated lighting sources. Early adopters of these systems will realize quick returns on their investments as their energy costs go down and their physical lighting systems are primed and ready for introduction of newer and better LEDs.