Traditionally, LEDs are directional light sources. Taking on a standard chip configuration, the diodes project beams at roughly 180-230 degrees. By comparison, incandescent and conventional bulbs offer omni-directional LEDs illumination, emitting beams between 270-360 degrees.
When choosing between the two designs, it is important to understand how the two options handle illumination.
Directional Lighting and Detailed Tasks
With a tighter spread, directional light sources provide more control over the positioning of the beams during illumination. This makes the configuration ideal for task, recessed and display lighting. Directional bulbs do not utilize reflectors to push the light towards the target area. As a result, less light is wasted during operation.
The proliferation of LED technology strongly relies on healthy consumer adoption rates. Since most individuals and businesses are used to omni-directional light sources (incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes and metal halide lamps), lighting manufacturers were forced to release innovative solutions for LEDs to meet such requirements. Specifically, engineers added reflectors and new designs that extend the angle of the beams, making them wider.
To ensure consistent performance, today’s lighting manufacturers trade in epoxy for silicone for robust thermal management. Silicone can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius, while epoxy starts breaking down at 80 degrees Celsius.
Omni-directional LEDs Illumination and General Spaces
Omni-directional LEDs are suitable for wide-area lighting and outdoor locations. In order to get the most out of this type of light, it should be installed over large spaces, with minimal obstructions. Capping the light (without a reflector) would waste the stray beams, causing a significant loss in brightness. Lamps that require full, 360-degree illumination, such as strobe or emergency lights, can directly benefit from omni-directional lighting.
To suit omni-directional lighting preferences, LED bulbs typically incorporate a series of diodes, pointing at different directions. Initially patented under US patent number 5594433 such luminaries also use convex reflectors to promote even distribution.