Bright idea illuminates LED standards

November 25, 2008

The lack of common measurement methods among light-emitting diode (LED) and lighting manufacturers has affected the commercialization of solid-state lighting products. In a recent paper, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology proposed a new, economical method to allow LED and lighting manufacturers to obtain accurate, reproducible, and comparable measurements of LED brightness and color.

The quality of the light that high-power LEDs produce depends on their operating temperature. To speed production, LED manufacturers typically use a high-speed pulsed test to measure the color and brightness of their products. However, because pulsed measurements do not give the LED chip time to warm to its normal operating temperature, the measured light output quality is not the same as would be realized in actual lighting products.

The lighting industry uses a steady-state DC measurement approach similar to that used for traditional incandescents and fluorescents. This method involves turning the light on, letting it warm up, and measuring the characteristics of the light produced. Although time-consuming, DC measurement provides a more realistic test of how the lighting product will perform in a consumer’s living room. The problem was that researchers did not understand how the DC measurement results correlated with the pulse measurement results that LED manufacturers use.

NIST scientists Yuqin Zong and Yoshi Ohno have created a standard high-power LED measurement method that satisfies the needs of both LED and lighting manufacturers. The NIST method leverages the fact that the optical and electrical characteristics of an LED are interrelated and a function of the LED’s junction temperature (the temperature of the semiconductor chip inside the LED, which is normally very difficult to measure).

The researchers’ new method entails mounting the LED on a temperature-controlled heat sink set to the desired LED junction temperature between 10 and 100 °C. After applying a pulse of electricity through the LED and measuring the voltage flowing across the junction, scientists turn on the DC power to the LED and adjust the temperature of the heat sink to ensure the voltage remains constant. When measuring the light output of an LED, this approach allows researchers to achieve a junction temperature similar to that found in a commercial lighting fixture. The measurement results can be reproducible regardless of pulse or DC operation, or type of heat sink.

The new method also allows the measurement of heat flow in and out of the LED, enabling LED and lighting manufacturers to improve the design of the LED and the thermal management system of the associated lighting product. Effective thermal management is important in lighting products because LEDs perform more efficiently and last much longer at lower temperatures.

Citation: Y. Zong and Y. Ohno. New practical method for measurement of high-power LEDs. Proc. CIE Expert Symposium on Advances in Photometry and Colorimetry. CIE x033:2008, 102-106 (2008).

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Explore further: Energy-saving LEDs boost light pollution worldwide

Related Stories

Energy-saving LEDs boost light pollution worldwide

November 22, 2017

They were supposed to bring about an energy revolution—but the popularity of LED lights is driving an increase in light pollution worldwide, with dire consequences for human and animal health, researchers said Wednesday.

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

November 20, 2017

At any given moment, the Earth's atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic rays collide with the ...

Recommended for you

How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

November 22, 2017

Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are famous for passing through anything and everything, only very rarely interacting with matter. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second. Now, scientists ...

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

November 22, 2017

A storm system approaches: the sky darkens, and the low rumble of thunder echoes from the horizon. Then without warning... Flash! Crash!—lightning has struck.

Quantum internet goes hybrid

November 22, 2017

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum ...

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

November 22, 2017

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

November 21, 2017

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.