When discussing or purchasing LED lights – or comparing light choices – the common phrase "solid state lighting" surfaces. Buyers aren't always sure what that means or why it's important. A little extra knowledge is always helpful when making the right purchase, so let's talk about solid state lighting (or SSL) and what it means!
Solid State Lighting (a.k.a, LED Lighting)
Solid state lighting refers to how light is created, and specifically describes LED (light emitting diode) and LED-related technologies. An LED is "solid state" because there are no moving parts or gases used to produce light. Instead, an electrical current is sent through a diode, a semiconductor that has been carefully created with the right mixture of metals and elements. The diode is energized by the electricity, and produces light, glowing in various colors depending on the ingredients used.
At this point, some people usually think, "Wait, that sounds like a filament from the old incandescent bulbs, just with a little square of metal instead. What's the difference?" There's a very big difference – but it happens in a very tiny space. You see, even the most advanced filaments incandescent lights still work via electrical resistance: The electricity is slowly burning away the filament, and the process produces heat and light. The filament, however, will eventually decay. In solid state lighting, the electricity does not burn the diode. Instead, the diode stays largely the same, but the electrons inside it realign and combine in a form that turns that electrical energy into light. When the current stops, the electrons disassemble, but the diode remains otherwise unchanged.
Solid state lighting includes:
- - Individual diodes used for decoration
- - LED control and indicator panels
- - LED clusters used in light "bulbs" that can be used in older incandescent sockets
- - OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens that produce both light and color in a single panel
Why SSL/LED Lighting is Leading the Charge
LED lights can last up to 50x longer than incandescent bulbs, and even the most robust, bright commercial LED lighting tends to be at least 3x more efficient. LED light also easily surpasses CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs, which makes it an ideal way to save money on lighting in the long term.
CFL bulbs use mercury gas, which is dangerous and requires significant cleanup procedures in case of an accident. Even incandescents have dangers with broken glass. Solid state lighting does not have the same safety concerns.
No Environmental Concerns
Solid state lighting has fewer environmental issues regarding transport and disposal.
The "solid" part of solid state lighting is very, very small – a single diode can be grouped with many of its friends to form almost any shape. That includes clusters, ropes, dots, bars and much more. This allows LED lighting to fit anywhere you want it.
Multiple Light Color Options
The combination of ingredients and coatings allows LED lights to assume many different colors, suitable for mimicking daylight, adding mood lighting, or anything in between.
In summary, solid state/LED lighting is the most efficient form of artificial lighting that we've discovered, and thanks to recent advances in technology, this type of lighting can be used in almost every situation, including retrofits and new buildings. If you want to learn more about the specific brands and types of LED light, XtraLight can help you find the right information and unique solutions for your lighting needs!