LEDs are a hot topic in the world of electronic components. Ardent supporters claim LEDs are the future while other designers cite cost and environmental impact as negatives. We turned to our readers for the inside scoop on LEDs and the industry.

Trends and usage
When asked about the biggest trend impacting specifications for lighting components, readers were torn:

· Heat management: 22 percent

· Energy efficient: 31 percent

· Durability: 22 percent

· Cost controls: 20 percent

These results showcase an overall trend for components that are efficient, suited for any environment, cost-efficient and green.  When asked what percentage of the systems they worked on were LED-based 27 percent said less than a quarter and 7 percent said zero. However, 41 percent of respondents said between 75 and 99 percent of the systems they work on were LED-based, which reflects the growing market and lower price point of the LEDs.

Reader respondents were very clear that luminous intensity (45 percent) was the most important LED specification for projects with wavelength (21 percent), forward current and voltage (16 percent), optical power (12 percent) taking a backseat. Lens type barely made an impact (2 percent). 

Surface emitting LEDs (76 percent) were the most common type readers specified with super luminescent (16 percent) and edge emitting (8 percent) listed as a second and third choice. Readers said that cost, efficiency, performance, and customer needs were main reasons for these specifications. The popularity of the surface emitting LEDs reflects their widespread application options.

Sensors are a quickly growing and essential area of electronic components. When it comes to specifications, the respondents offered the following needs:

· Temperature: 12 percent

· Safety concerns:  16 percent

· Motion control: 12 percent

· Energy efficiency: 30 percent

· Measurement accuracy: 24 percent

Readers cited cost, application suitability, accuracy, and testing purposes as well as safety and avoiding litigation for their decisions. But there is definitely room for improvement particularly in motion sensors, followed closely by temperature, vision, position, and voltage sensors.Over half of the respondents named connectors as the top complimentary sensor product used in the past year with the rest split between mounting devices (32 percent), cables (32 percent), enclosures (25 percent) and adapters (9 percent).

Whether it’s LEDS or sensors, designers and electronic component engineers are very concerned with efficiency (both energy and cost) as well as long-lasting. Both are a reflection of current economical and customer needs and will continue to trend as big concerns.