Most people will be aware of LEDs as the small indicators typically used in clock displays and electronic equipment 'standby' lights.
The humble LED (Light Emitting Diode) has been around for many years, but it is only recently that the necessary light output and range of colours has become available for use in the entertainment industries.
A huge amount of research has gone into improving the basic design of the LED, with the introduction of really bright devices in the 1980s, and the long-awaited arrival of the blue LED in the 1990s. Recently, the process has culminated in the introduction of a white LED.
With the life expectancy of a typical LED device being in excess of 10 years, coupled with the advantages of low-voltage control and low heat output, many companies are starting to recognise the potential for LED-based equipment. This has been particularly noticeable in the architectural lighting field, where LEDs are put to good use as general lighting fixtures with colour mixing capabilities.
As LEDs are so small, they also have the invaluable ability to achieve a wide number of configurations able to satisfy a wide number of lighting needs. For example, LED lighting can be used in flush- and surface-mounted lamps, striplights and larger panels.
LED technology provides important advantages over conventional incandescent sources: they are cool running, enabling silent operation with no fans; the colour temperature and colour rendering does not alter over the life of the device; they have flicker-free operation - ideal for film and video work. In addition, the LED is a directional light source, meaning that no additional reflector or lenses are required.
These advances in LED technology has enabled manufacturers to finally build a lighting instrument which is bright and reliable enough to be used in demanding situations, such as stage lighting.
Using LEDs instead of the tradional incandescent lamp source provides an unsurpassed silent, non-mechanical, additive colour mixing system and the fixtures can produce stunning and instant effects - from the subtlest of dissolves to the fastest of high impact stroboscopic colour sequences. The exceptional heat and energy saving properties of Solid State LED Lighting guarantee it's future success ... and the technology is predicted to replace incandescent light bulb sources in some applications during the next decade.
Benefits to the end user include the following: