What is Solid State Lighting?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Solid state lighting (SSL) is lighting which relies on semiconductors to turn electricity into light. Some examples of solid state lighting include light emitting diodes (LEDs), along with polymer light emitting diodes and organic light emitting diodes. This type of lighting is much more energy efficient than other lighting systems, and it has a number of advantages, ranging from the quality of the light to safety. Several manufacturers specialize in producing solid state lighting and components.

Prior to the development of solid state lighting, people use things like filaments, plasma, and gas to create light. When solid state components were initially introduced, there was minimal interest, but as the technology developed in the late 20th century, the implications and potentials of solid state lighting were realized, and the industry exploded. From being used as indicator lights and in other menial positions, LEDs started to be employed in a wide variety of applications, supplanting conventional light sources.

In addition to using less energy than other lighting sources, solid state lighting also generates less waste and heat, which in turn makes it safer. This type of lighting is also extremely durable, because the components are solid, and therefore the lights can be heavily abused while in use without breaking. The lifespan of solid state components tends to be longer, and the quality of the light is better.


Examples of solid state lighting can be seen in numerous locations. Many cities, for example, use LEDs in their traffic lights to provide crisp, clear color which is highly visible. This type of lighting can also be installed in homes and businesses. Some governments even provide incentives to people who wish to convert from conventional lighting sources to solid state lighting, and a number of governments have invested in the promotion of solid state lighting and the development of new solid state technology.

For people who want to improve their energy efficiency, solid state lighting is definitely something which should be considered, as it is highly cost effective. The quality of the light is also excellent, meaning that people do not have to compromise in order to save energy. Many hardware and home supply stores carry a variety of options for people who wish to use them, and it is also possible to order lighting supplies directly from manufacturers. This type of lighting is also very flexible, making it easy to order custom pieces for specific applications.


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Post 4

@GamerDan - Unfortunately LCD lights are not considered a solid state lighting technology at all. They don't actually produce light at all, they selectively block light, so they are not a true light source. It's all a bit confusing, there is a reflective surface just under the crystals so that the light can be seen. As a matter of fact, the LED lights this article mentions are often used as the light source for the LCD lights you are looking at.

Post 3

So, are those neat little LCD lights that I have seen at the stores the same thing? I really like those and was wondering how they worked?

Post 2

@anon164298 - You bring up some very interesting points that I would like to touch on if I may. LED home lighting does not release any harmful emissions, so as far as health risks on this front we are all perfectly safe. Something we often don’t think of though, and is very common are our natural reactions to things. As humans we have learned to adapt to how the current normal light spectrum reacts with our eyes. Up until recently LED’s were low intensity indicator lamps that we could just stare at all day. With the advent of the new high intensity lamps, a whole new spectrum of light that our eyes are not yet used to is being introduced. Staring at any bright light for a long time will inevitably be bad for us, but we can hardly blame the technology for that.

Post 1

The primary concern with solid state lights is the likelihood they will (1) adversely affect vision when using them extensively over time, and (2) harmful physical results from the electronic emissions. I have seen warnings to never sit with these lights close to your head because they could cause harmful effects in the brain. Has anyone seen research data on potential physical harm and vision harm these 'green' lights could ultimately cause?

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