How Light-Emitting Diodes Fade as Temperature Increases

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How Light-Emitting Diodes Fade as Temperature Increases

Postby Sariah Wilson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:34 pm

My 5th grader has been doing the project listed on your Science Buddies site. He selected the project on his own. He constructed the device, took the measurements, but now we're trying to analyze the data and come up with a conclusion and we're all at a loss. I have no idea what this experiment is supposed to be proving - we've read through the introductory materials at least ten times, he has no hypothesis, no question to answer, and even though he now has the information about the light emitted from the various colored LED lights, we don't know what to do with it.

We've done multiple Internet searches trying to find the answers, but things are either written in broken English or so far above our heads that we don't know what they're trying to say.

It's obvious that as the flashlight reaches its thermal equilibrium that the power of the light starts to fade. Why? What is this showing that a 10-year-old can understand?

We really need some help - this project is due in a couple of days.

Thank you!
Sariah Wilson
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Project Question: How Light-Emitting Diodes Fade as Temperature Increases
Project Due Date: January 30
Project Status: I am finished with my experiment and analyzing the data

Re: How Light-Emitting Diodes Fade as Temperature Increases

Postby kgudger » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:16 am

Hello and welcome to the forums.

Normally I would refer you to the Science Buddies sections on how to create your question and hypothesis (you've read these already, it seems). From the title of you post I can get both of these things. "How Light-Emitting Diodes Fade as Temperature Increases" yields the question: "Does LED flashlight's light fade as it's temperature increases" and hypothesis "I think that an LED flashlight's light will (or won't) fade as its temperature increases."

As to what's going on, here's what the project says:
No matter what their efficiency, LEDs do radiate heat at their base though, at many other frequencies other than infrared, with the result being that some portion of the input energy goes toward producing visible light, and the rest is spent generating heat. ... as the temperature increases, an LEDs efficiency and brightness decrease.

I've tried to find a good, simple explanation for what's going on in the LED as its temperature rises. I've found some data by looking at articles about solar cells (which are made similarly to LEDs). Here are some quotes:
semiconductors offer more resistance in extreme heat, making them less efficient ... The Physics Hypertextbook explained that as temperature in a conducting material increases, quasiparticles, called phonons, are excited and move throughout the material, impeding the uniform movement of electrons.

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