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Today lighting accounts for about 20% of the worldwide electricity consumption. Household lighting, commercial lighting, and street lighting are responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Developments of new light emitting diodes (LED) can reduce the electricity consumption dedicated to lighting considerably. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) can become the perfect energy efficient substitute for the attractive but inefficient incandescent and halogen lighting. No other lighting technology can match the quality, efficiency, and lifetime of LED lighting.
In contrast to incandescent bulbs that create light and heat from filaments, LEDs convert electricity with high efficiency directly into visible light. However, there are a number of technical problems such as low color rendering that have to be solved before LED lighting will make a complete breakthrough. The efficiency of LED’s has doubled every third year and LED’s will within the near future become more energy efficient than most efficient conventional lighting sources. In addition to the energy savings, LED’s have a number of other advantages: small and compact emitters with high flux, they are robust, no emission of UV- or IR- radiation when used for visible illumination, and a long lifetime (20.000 – 100.000 hours) provided proper thermal management. In the talk I will review the basic physics of LEDs and I will discuss the new possibilities that LEDs offer.Finally, I will discuss a number of new applications of LEDs where energy savings can be obtained.