With the introduction of the , the flashlight industry has undergone something of a renaissance. It’s really no surprise, of course, that a revolutionary technology has far-reaching implications for countless industries; historically, this has always been the case. It’s particularly interesting to note that physicists had known about and experimented with light-emitting diode semiconductors for decades without producing anything of practical value. While it in no way belittles the gravity of those physicists’ research, it was the industrial sector that began finding uses for this technology. GE, RCA and Texas Instruments were among the first companies to develop, further research and refine LED applications.
Before a flashlight using an LED was even conceivable, these companies produced various iterations of a weak infrared-emitting LED, followed by the first visible, red light, whose use in electronics would become synonymous with the popular conception of LEDs. Over time, understanding and experimentation with electroluminescent materials bloomed, paving the way for lights of all different colors including white (which is actually a blend of several colors that is perceived as white), yellow, amber, blue, green, etc. In the late 1990s, an LED which emits ultra-violet radiation was created.
As a result of the (literally) exponential growth of this technology, the humble flashlight has evolved into a not-so-humble flashlight. Cheap, battery-powered flashlights are now widely available for under USD 20, whose lights last up to 100,000 hours! A major benefit for heavy flashlight users is that LEDs produce less heat than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.
Some of the best brands of these lights include Maglite led, surefire flashlights, Fenix flashlights, Streamlight stinger, olight, terralux as well as brands of the brightest led and lanterns.
For higher-end applications, these flashlights reach staggering levels of luminosity yet cost commensurately more. A USD100 flashlight that uses powerful LEDs can boast an over 600 lumen output, which is bright enough to be used in hunting, wilderness, search and rescue and long-range applications. These lights also last for up to a whopping 50,000 hours.
While the LED flashlight is still evolving as a technology, it uses half the power of traditional lighting technologies, is brighter and lasts up to 5 times longer, making it the choice of a new generation of industries and consumers who have strong environmental consciences.