How to avoid LED corrosion

Reliability is one of the most important specs for LED-based products to estimate their product life - how long they’ll last and will function under different conditions. But LED corrosion will deteriorate the performance of LED-based products through chemical reactions between LEDs and their surrounding environment.

To avoid any corrosion, the best way is to avoid harmful substances in proximity to the LEDs. Even small quantities of harmful substances can lead to corrosion. Even if the LED is only in contact with corrosive gases during the processing steps, such as in production line equipment, this could have negative effects. In these cases damage to the LED component can usually already be observed prior to the final system setup. Sulfur contamination, especially, should be avoided. The following examples may be sources of corrosive substances, in particular H2S:

  • O-rings • Gaskets • Organic rubber • Foam pads
  • Rubber sealing • Elastomer vulcanized with sulfur • Anti-vibration pads

If harmful substances cannot be fully avoided, an LED with higher robustness towards corrosion should be used. However, keep in mind that robustness towards corrosion is limited, depending on the concentration of harmful materials. ‘Robust’ is relative in this case; you should always seek to minimize exposure to these materials even after selecting more resistant LEDs

In general, heat, humidity and light among others are able to accelerate a corrosive chemical reaction. However, the main influencing factors can be limited to harmful material concentration level and temperature. Limiting these two will go the furthest way towards preserving your LEDs

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