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LED Half Life: What Is It & How Is It Impacted?

The concept of LED (Light Emitting Diode) half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for the LED's brightness to degrade to half of its original intensity. LED half-life is a measure of the lifespan or longevity of an LED.

In practical terms, when you see specifications like "50,000 hours LED half-life," it means that after approximately 50,000 hours of continuous operation, the LED's brightness will have decreased to about 50% of its initial level. This doesn't mean the LED suddenly stops working; rather, its light output diminishes gradually over time.

LED Pixel Brightness
LED Pixels

Several factors can affect LED half-life:

Operating Conditions:

The environment in which the LED operates, including temperature, humidity, and voltage fluctuations, can influence its lifespan. LEDs generally perform better and have a longer half-life under stable and controlled conditions.

Quality of Materials:

The quality of the LED and the materials used in its construction play a significant role in determining its lifespan. Higher-quality LEDs often have longer half-lives.

Current and Voltage:

Properly controlling the current and voltage supplied to an LED is crucial for maximizing its lifespan. Overdriving an LED with excessive current or voltage can accelerate degradation.

Thermal Management:

LEDs generate heat during operation. Effective thermal management, such as heat sinks or other cooling mechanisms, can help dissipate this heat and prevent it from damaging the LED, contributing to a longer half-life.

Understanding LED half-life is essential for applications where consistent and reliable lighting is crucial over an extended period. It allows designers and users to estimate when the LED's brightness might fall below acceptable levels and plan for replacements or maintenance accordingly.

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