What Are LED Lights Made Of: Components, Materials, and Minerals Used to Make LED Lights

What are LED lights made of? These impressive sources of artificial lighting have grown very popular, and for a good reason.

Among other reasons, they last much longer and are more energy efficient, which makes them superior to other types of artificial lighting.

But what components and materials do they comprise? Read on to learn this and more. 

LED Light Components

Light-Emitting Diode

The light-emitting diode is the part that emits light when current passes through a semiconductor inside it.

And the semiconductor is a conductive material that allows electric current to flow through.

Depending on its design, a bulb can have one or more diodes.

Color diodes

(Caption: Color diodes)

Led Driver

Now the LED driver is an electric circuit comprising capacitors.

First, it regulates the flow of electricity.

And the way it does that is by maintaining the threshold amount needed for the bulb to function well.

Because any slight change in the amount of current significantly impacts the light output. 

Then, unlike some lighting systems, LED bulbs don’t use AC (alternating current).

So another function of the LED driver is to convert AC to the DC (direct current) required for the diodes to operate.

LED driver

(Caption: LED driver)


As the name suggests, the motherboard is the centerpiece that dictates all its activities.

It works as a driver and signals the bulb when to go on and off.

Usually, you’ll find the motherboard in the bulbs on a dimmer circuit.

Therefore, it can regulate the brightness of the diodes.


Now the housing protects the circuit. And it’s The middle part of the bulb made of aluminum lining with a heat sink. 

Heat Sink

The heat sink absorbs ambient heat generated at the junction.

See, left unchecked; heat can shorten the lifespan of a LED light.

And when that happens, it affects the lighting system’s performance.

Additionally, the heat sink removes heat from the diodes, thus maintaining the expected light and color output.

The heat sink removes heat through conduction in front of the components mounted on or beside it. 


The base provides the path through which the current passes to the bulb.

Typically, the base consists of lightweight and conductive material.

Additionally, every bulb has a specific base size.

Therefore, it’s all about getting the right fixture.

Bulb Cover

The bulb covers act as a lens by absorbing the light from the diodes and then emitting it into the room.

As a result, it portrays your bulb and lighting to seem bigger and brighter than it is.

See, each bulb does have a varied size of bulb cover and thus varying brightness.

Bulb cover

(Caption: Bulb cover) 

Epoxy Lens or Wire

The epoxy lens plays two vital roles in a bulb.

First, they’re the refractive lenses that focus the light emitted from the bulb.

Secondly, they protect the semiconductor wafer from any damage, enhancing the bulb’s lifespan.

Wire Bond

Wire bonds consist primarily of gold or silver alloys.

Usually, they interconnect the bulb’s LED die and the ceramic PCB (printed circuit board).

And they do this by connecting the positive and negative electrodes of the bulb of the PCB to the IC.

As a result, it completes the circuit, thus allowing the emission of light above the IC.

Further, wire bonds conduct heat, consequently acting as a heat sink for the bulb.

Reflective Cavity

Sometimes, the reflective cavity gets referred to as a reflecting chamber. Now it’s the surrounding section of the semiconductor die.

And the way it works is it reflects any light not emitted directly from the LED back into the semiconductor wafer.

Semiconductor Diode

A semiconductor diode comprises silicon semiconductor materials or germanium.

The semiconductor material is a substance or chemical compound that can conduct electricity under the influence of an electric current.

These common alloys include gallium arsenide, silicon carbide, gallium indium nitride, gallium phosphide, and gallium arsenide phosphide.

Interestingly, the alloys can produce light at a specific wavelength, thus generating light of different colors.

(Caption: Semiconductor diode)

Lead Frame

The lead frame is typically at the edge where the LED bulb connects to the socket.

Now the lead plates comprise either copper, aluminum, or brass.

And these provide the path for electric current into the LED bulb.  


The cathode is the negative terminal of the LED bulb.

Typically, you can recognize it as a notch or flat spot on the bulb’s body.

But in some cases, it may appear as the shorter lead of the two terminals of the bulb. 


The anode is the positive terminal of the bulb.

Unlike the cathode, you can identify the anode as the longer lead of the two terminals, sometimes marked positive.  

Do RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LEDs Have Different Components?

Yes, RGB diodes have different components. That’s because they consist of semiconductors and an alloy of other materials.

What’s remarkable is that the combined elements can generate over 16 million shades of colors when an electric current passes through them. 

What Materials Makeup LED Lights 

Manufacturers use soda-lime glass to make LED lights.

This is the very material the glass industry uses to make bottles. 

Minerals Used to Make LED Lights

As mentioned earlier, LED lights consist of small diodes made from semiconductor materials.

Typically, these comprise the following minerals:

  • Indium gallium nitride (InGaN): This mineral is a vital component that creates slightly green and dominant blue and ultraviolet colors. 
  • Gallium phosphide (GaP): With this mineral, when current passes through it, it produces yellow and dominant green shades of light. 
  • Aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AIGaAS): As for this mineral, it can produce orange, red, and yellow colors. This chemical component stands out: it generates the highest brightness level from a LED bulb. 
  • Aluminum gallium arsenide: Now, this mineral generates red and infrared colors. 

Manufacture of LEDs

The first step in manufacturing LED lights is making the semiconductor.

In this step, manufacturers heat purified materials, namely gallium, arsenic, or phosphors, in a high-temperature and pressure chamber.

Then crystalization of the molten element solution occurs, forming a long cylindrical crystal ingot.

After that, they slice it into the desired length of semiconductor pieces. 

And the way they design the semiconductor is such that one side has more electrons than the other.

That way, the electrons flow from one layer to the other.

As a result, it generates an electron excitement that produces light in return. 

Next, manufacturers add a dopant, or impurity, to the semiconductor to enhance its functionality. 

After that comes the introduction of the metal contacts based on the diode choice, then the final step is to mount the diodes, wiring circuit, and other components, then enclose them in a plastic casing. 


Are LED Lights Plastic or Glass?

Well, LED lights can be either glass or plastic. It all depends on the consumer’s needs and application. 

What Metals are in LED Lights?

LED lights contain metals such as gallium, indium, and arsenic.

And manufacturers combine these metals chemically with non-metals to form semiconductors. 

What’s LED Plastic Made Of?

Typically, LED plastic is polycarbonate (PC), a naturally occurring transparent thermoplastic. 

Are All LED Lights Plastic?

Actually, no. See, manufacturers produce both glass and plastic LED lights.

Therefore, the type of material will depend on the application and needs.


So that answers the question, What are LED lights made of?”

The unique design of these light bulbs meets varying needs.

And the components they compromise ensure that the bulbs function efficiently and last longer.

As we’ve seen, the semiconductor material made from an alloy of metal and non-metal elements provides the required spectrum of light to generate the desired light.