HomeNewsInsights from Research: The Impact of Age on How White LED Light is Perceived

Insights from Research: The Impact of Age on How White LED Light is Perceived


While LEDs are gaining popularity for energy-efficient lighting and displays, some users feel their light is too harsh. A recent study suggests that designing white LED lighting that is more pleasing to the eye requires considering age-related perception differences.


"Our research uncovered a significant impact on how individuals perceive white light based on the amount of short-wavelength light emitted by a source, coupled with the viewer's age," explained Aurelien David, the leader of the research team at Soraa Inc. in Fremont, California, USA. "LED light sources intensify this effect due to their frequent emission of pronounced peaks in blue or violet radiation."


The researchers have shared their latest discoveries in The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express. They emphasize that traditional colorimetry assumes uniform visual responses, but newer models for color perception consider age-related effects. These models can predict and assist in addressing variations in color perception.


"Currently, light color is determined by standards rooted in outdated science, which fails to precisely predict color perception," noted David. "This poses a challenge in creating improved light sources to reduce differences among users and promote the broader adoption of LED technology."


Evaluating How We Perceive White Light


In the experiment, participants assessed multiple nearly white LED sources with different emission spectra. Their task was to rank the perceived tint compared to a reference white light. These sources were integral to the researchers' pursuit of a sleep-friendly light. The sources showcased a unique emission spectrum, substituting the sleep-affecting short-wavelength blue light with shorter-wavelength violet light while preserving the light's white color.


"Traditional colorimetry suggests consistent perception for a specific LED source among all users," David noted. "Yet, our findings revealed significant discrepancies among viewers. One person might perceive a source as very pink, while another might see the same source as distinctly green."


Upon analyzing the results, it became evident that age played a significant role in the observed perception variations. Leveraging contemporary color science, the researchers developed a perception model that effectively explained the differences in how users perceived the light.


"The viewer's sensitivity in the violet range, strongly linked to age, heavily influences the perceived tint of these unique LED sources," David clarified. "While similar variations in white-LED perception have been noted by others, these special LEDs make the effect particularly pronounced and noticeable."


The study also demonstrated that age-related perception effects extend to conventional LEDs commonly utilized in lighting and displays. This implies that two supposedly identical conventional LED sources with the same white color may appear significantly different to a viewer based on their age.


Establishing Fresh Color Standards


"Applying modern colorimetry enables the customization of future LED sources to reduce differences in perception among viewers," David suggested. "Manufacturers can utilize this contemporary framework to create lighting that is more resilient to variations influenced by age."


The researchers emphasize that establishing a standardized calculation for age-dependent colorimetric values would assist manufacturers and other stakeholders in integrating age-related effects into the development of upcoming LED emitters.


"We need to ensure that age-related effects don't impede the progress of LED technology, as scientific tools already exist to address them, even if not widely employed," David remarked.




In conclusion, the study sheds light on the often overlooked age-related variations in the perception of LED lighting. By delving into modern color science, researchers revealed significant differences among viewers in how they perceived nearly white LED sources. Notably, age emerged as a crucial factor, influencing the perceived tint and highlighting the need for a more nuanced understanding in the design of LED sources. The findings underscore the potential for incorporating age-dependent considerations into standardized calculations, offering manufacturers a pathway to create LED technology that is not only energy-efficient but also consistently appealing across diverse age groups. As we navigate the future of LED advancements, it is imperative to embrace the available scientific tools that can address these age-related effects, ensuring the continued progress of LED technology for a more universally satisfying lighting experience.

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