Lighting Terms Defined

Every light bulb or fixture comes with a different list of specifications, such as voltage, watts, color-rendering index (CRI), and lumen output. These specifics are important for product purchasing but are only beneficial if they are truly understood. What is a lumen? What does AC/DC mean? What is polarity? Use our lighting dictionary to find the answers to these questions and learn the ins and outs of lighting.

The photon:

The particles that make up light.

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Leds produce some of the most durable and energy-efficient lighting today. Semi conductor
In the electron and rich hole - rich semiconductor
Is used to create an LED. An electric current passing through the junction between the two materials binds the electrons to the hole and produces a photon, which is what you see. LED has infinite application possibilities, such as cabinet under, landscape, vehicle, work, home, industrial and commercial lighting.


Components welded to a circuit board. After welding, leds are usually wrapped in epoxy resin.

On-board chip (COB) LED:

What is a COB LED using multiple leds on a single LED chip. Individual leds do not have an epoxy shell, allowing more leds to be tightly packed together to produce a smooth light output. The lack of a case also reduces thermal resistance (heat), which extends the life of the LED.

Through hole LED: what is through hole LED

An LED mounted through a hole in a circuit board with its pin soldered to the back of the circuit board

Solid state lighting (SSL) :

SSL USES semiconductor leds to generate lighting, rather than the filament or gas used in incandescent or fluorescent lamps. This type of lighting provides many benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, better color and light quality, durability and longer life.

Incandescent: an example of a typical incandescent bulb

This well-known type of lighting is the oldest and least efficient. Just like in a space heater, electricity flows through a thin wire, heating the filament until it glows. Heat radiates outward from the space heater, as in an incandescent bulb, and only a fraction of that energy is converted into usable light; A considerable amount of heat will burn the bulb's tungsten filament until it breaks.

Halogen: what is a halogen bulb

Halogen bulbs are similar to incandescent bulbs, but with some subtle differences. They contain tungsten wire, but a small amount of halogen gas is mixed with tungsten vapor. Steam deposits back onto the filament rather than inside the bulb's casing. The process extends the life of the bulb, allowing it to operate at much higher temperatures than incandescent bulbs, increasing light output. Because it can handle higher temperatures, a quartz shell is used instead of glass.

Fluorescent/compact fluorescent (CFL) : fluorescent and CFL bulbs

An electric current passes through argon and mercury vapors, producing ultraviolet light that activates the phosphor coating inside the bulb and causes it to glow or fluoresce - hence the name fluorescence. CFLS are fluorescent tubes that are coiled into a spiral shape, so they can be used in the same way as incandescent bulbs.

High intensity discharge (HID) lamp:

HID lamp consists of ballast and quartz tube, HID fixture and HID replacement bulb
It contains gas, metal salts and two tungsten electrodes. The ballast controls the voltage and current required to operate the lamp. An arc is passed from one electrode to another through a gas, most commonly mercury, metal halide, or sodium. Arcing heats metal salts and vaporizes them - producing plasma - increasing the light output produced by the arcing and improving efficiency.

Mercury vapor lamp: mercury vapor

This type of lamp produces an electric arc through vaporized mercury, producing a blue-green light. The outer bulb housing insulates the bulb and prevents uv radiation. These are the oldest HID lamp types and are being phased out due to improved efficiency and better colour reproduction of metal halide lamps.

Metal halide (MH) : metal halide lamp

Much like a mercury vapor lamp, an arc is created by vaporizing mercury. However, metal halides (such as sodium, indium and thallium) are added to increase efficiency and improve the chromogenic index of light (CRI). The outer bulb housing insulates the bulb and prevents uv radiation.

High pressure sodium (HPS) : high pressure sodium lamp

This type of HID lamp USES mercury vapor and sodium to ignite the arc, producing a golden glow
The parking lot.

Intrusion protection (IP) rating:

Indicates the solid size and liquid pressure that a light bulb, luminaire, or circuit board can resist. The first number refers to the size of solids - from hand to large particles to dust particles. The second number refers to the pressure of the liquid from rain to full immersion. As each number increases, so does its level of protection.

What is an IP level

Electromagnetic spectrum:

The whole range of invisible and visible light.

Electromagnetic spectrum - spectrum


Measurement of the distance between crests. Visible light, measured in nanometers, represents the color of light.


Measure the amount of light produced by the light source.

Chromaticity: what is chromaticity

The color quality of light, determined by its main wavelength, is independent of brightness. The color of the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) shown on the right is yellow, the color of its most dominant wavelength.

Related color temperature (CCT) :

CCTS represent the hues and shades of white light emitted from a particular bulb or luminaire. The CCT is measured in Kelvins (K), which is similar to Celsius. Different temperatures on the kelvin scale represent different colors. For example, the 2000k-3500k light looks more orange/yellow, known as ultra-warm or warm white, and as the kelvin temperature increases, the color changes to more "paper white," known as natural or neutral white (between 3500K and 5100K), and finally to a bluish white, known as cold white (5100K +).

What is the CCTS

CRI: what is CRI

CRI indicates that light sources can accurately display the true colors of objects, people, clothing, etc., compared to incandescent lamps or daylight displays. The closer the CRI of light is to 100 (CRI in incandescent or daylight), the better the color reproduction of the object in that light will be.

Beam Angle/beam mode:

Measure the Angle between the brightest spot (center) of the light cone and the points on both sides of the center, and the light intensity is 50%.

What is the beam Angle


A spot of light visible to the eye. LED angel-eye lamps with SMD leds will have multiple hot spots, while angel-eye lamps with on-board chip (COB) leds will produce smooth illumination across the entire surface of the ring.

What is the LED hotspot


Negatively charged atomic particles.

The current:

The flow of electrons through a material such as a wire, measured in amperes.

Direct current (DC) :

A current flowing in one direction. DCS are typically generated by batteries that can be found in vehicles and devices that do not need to be connected to a socket, such as flashlights, portable radios and mobile phones.

Alternating current (AC) :

A current flowing in alternating directions. AC is commonly used in household electrical equipment.

Polarity: what is the definition of polarity

The flow of current in a particular direction causes the circuit to act. Just as a battery has positive and negative electrodes, a bulb can have both, and will not emit light unless the terminals are connected to the circuit in the direction of the current.


A measure of how much energy is produced or consumed. The current consumption of the bulb (amperes) times its voltage is equal to the power of the bulb (current consumption x voltage = watts). The power of the bulb with a absorption of 0.067 amperes and a voltage of 120 is 8. What is voltage


Potential energy from the circuit that pushes the current (ampere) toward the bulb to produce illumination. The greater the voltage, the more energy can be transferred to the bulb to light it up.


The difficulty of a current flowing through a material in ohms.


The amount of visible light produced at a given power (watt). For example, a light bulb that emits 480 lumens and consumes 8 watts of power has the effect of 60 lumens per watt. Formula: 480 lumens / 8 watts = 60 lumens/watt


The percentage of energy a bulb USES to produce light, taking into account the energy wasted through heat and resistance. The more efficient the bulb, the less energy it wastes. LED bulbs waste little or no energy and produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs that waste a lot of energy.

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