What Are Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Light Guides

Fiber Optic Light Guides

Have you heard of light-emitting diode (LED) light guides? They are commonly used as backlighting solutions for keypads, human machine interfaces (HMIs), switches and other devices. While LEDs alone can be used as backlighting solutions, though, the addition of light guides maximizes their utility. To learn more about LED light guides, keep reading.

The Basics of LED Light Guides

LED light guides are backlighting solutions that feature both LEDs and one or more light guides. LEDs, of course, are bulbs that use a semiconducting diode to produce light. As electricity flows through the semiconducting diode of an LED, it will illuminate.

Light guides don’t produce light. Rather, they are designed to distribute light. A light guide is simply a light-propagating film. In LED light guides, the LEDs will produce light that travels through one or more adjacent light guides.

Top-Mounted vs Side-Mounted LED Light Guides

There are two primary types of LED light guides: top mounted and side mounted. Top-mounted LED light guides are characterized by the use of top-firing LEDs. In other words, the LEDs are mounted to the top of the device where they project light downward.

Side-mounted LED light guides, on the other hand, are characterized by the use of side-firing LEDs. The LEDs are mounted to the left and right sides. During use, the LEDs will project light towards the center of the device.

Benefits of LED Light Guides

Whether top or side mounted, all LED light guides offer several benefits. For starters, LED light guides promote an even level of brightness. It’s not uncommon for devices to suffer from uneven brightness. They may be bright in some areas and darker in other areas. LED light guides prevent this from happening by ensuring that the light is evenly distributed throughout the device.

LED light guides require fewer bulbs than traditional LED backlighting. Both types of backlighting require bulbs, which are the LEDs. LED light guides, though, typically consist of fewer bulbs than their counterparts with only LEDs.

LED light guides support segmentation. The light guides can be segmented to create areas of separation. If you only need backlighting on certain areas of the device, for example, you may want to choose LED light guides. The light guides can be sliced or segmented so that only the appropriate areas are illuminated. These are just a few benefits of LED light guides.

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