LED color 3

Color Characteristics of LEDs

LED color 4There’s an array of different LEDs that are available in the lighting market today. The diverse LED characteristics comprise of light color or radiation wavelength and light intensity among other features.

These color characteristics are as a result of an assortment of factors during the manufacturing process. Factors such as semiconductor make-up, fabrication technology used, and encapsulation are also important in determining the LED color appearances.

Understanding LED colors

Color is a fundamental feature of light emitting diodes (LEDs). Initially, there were a limited number of colors available for these fixtures. You could only find red LEDs.

However, as technology advanced, there have been significant improvements in LED materials and colors.

Color Characteristics of LEDs: Color Temperature

One important aspect of color appearance is color temperature, which exemplifies how cool/bluish or how warm/yellowish technically white light appears. CCT Correlated Color Temperature (abbreviated as CCT), is actually a metric correlating the source of light appearance to a pre-heated theoretic dark/black body appearance. As a black-hued body gets hotter, it becomes red, orange, white, and ultimately blue. The CCT value of a light source, provided in Kelvin (K), represents the temperature at which a hot black body closely matches the light source color under investigation. It symbolizes the color of emitted light and not that of illuminated objects.

What is Color Rendering Index (CRI)?

Metrics Color representation has numerous distinct forms, including reference based systems, gamut based systems, and systems which are built upon sophisticated color appearance models.

CRI refers to a measure of fidelity (that’s how ‘true’ a certain light source is when related to a reference source), but it doesn’t address the issue of color appeal and discrimination.

Chromaticity and LED Colors

LED colors1Chromaticity refers to an objective interpretation of the quality of color irrespective of its luminance. It consists of two distinct parameters, often described as colorfulness (s) and hue (h). For a specified CCT, a light source with a positive Duv value has a chromaticity which falls above the locus of the blackbody (appearing slightly greenish), while a source featuring a negative Duv value has a chromaticity which falls below the locus the blackbody (appearing slightly pinkish).

The Influence of LED voltage drops

The LED voltage drop often lies between 2 and 4 volts. The actual voltage that occurs across the two terminals is highly dependent on the type of LED/materials used and influences the color of LED in question.

As expected, the voltage curve of an LED broadly resembles that of a forward diode characteristic. But once the diode is switched on, the voltage becomes relatively flat for various forward current levels.

LED Characteristics: The Summary

The following table gives a summarized insight concerning LED color characteristics.

Wavelength Range In NM Color Of the LED Voltage(V) at 20MA The Type of Material
Blow 400 UV(Ultraviolent) 3.1 to 4.4 AIN, AlGaN, AlGalnP
400 to 450 Violet 2.8 to 4.0 GaP,AlGalnP
450 to 500 Blue 2.5 to 3.7 lnGaN
500 to 570 Green 1.9 to 4.0 GaP, AlGalnP
570 to 590 Yellow 2.1 to 2.2 GaAsP, AlGalnP
590 to 610 Orange or Amber 2.0 to 2.1 GaAsP, AlGalnP
610 to 760 Red 1.6 to 2.0 AlGaAs, GaAsP, AlGalnP


Below 760 Infrared Below 1.9 GaAs, AlGaAs


Besides LED color, the following are other major LED specifications:

  • Light intensity value( denoted as Iv)
  • Current vs. voltage specification
  • Reverse voltage
  • Angle of view

LED Specifications for Operational Life

LED colors2LED’s light intensity doesn’t diminish with time. What this implies is that LEDs have a specific operational life. This specification helps determine the application of different kinds of LEDs. LED specifications are determined by the following formulas.

L70% = The time taken for a 70 percent illumination (this is also known as lumen maintenance)

L50% = The time taken for a 50 percent illumination (also known as lumen maintenance)

Note: According to LED standards, your LEDs shouldn’t exhibit any major shift in chromaticity.

These figures’ rationale is that 70 percent lumen maintenance is equated to a 30 percent light output reduction. This’s an approximate threshold figure required to detect to gradual light output reductions.

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