Posted on September 18, 2013

Sulfuration - What is it and what does it do?

One of the "dirty" secrets of the LED industry is that chemicals in the surrounding environment to some types of LEDs can cause a decrease in output or potentially accelerate complete failure. Probably the most common mechanism is referred to as "Sulfuration" because it involves the chemical reaction of sulfur and silver.

Many types of these lower cost LEDs mount the die onto a lead frame which is commonly coated in a silver plating to increase the reflectance of the light leaving the die. In most cases there is then a small gold "bond wire" connecting the electrical current from the lead frame to the LED die.††

Although the above method is inexpensive and provides a good connection, it is susceptible to sulfuration. Sulfuration is a chemical process where sulfur (commonly found in gaskets, adhesives, tailpipe emissions, and even cardboard boxes) will penetrate the LED and over time discolor the silver coating on the lead frame, thereby reducing the light output of the LED. In extreme cases, it can even lead to the gold bold wires breaking off which in turn causes a complete failure of the LED.††

The good news is that Solais only uses high quality LEDs which are not susceptible to sulfuration. The LEDs in our lamps do not contain a silver coated lead frame and instead of the cheap bond wires ours use a special method called "flip chip" which eliminates this potential for failure.

About Solais Lighting Group: Solais + EnergyLite design and manufacture the lighting industry's highest-performing LED lamps and fixtures. With superior lumen output, center-beam candlepower, and overall aesthetics and performance, Solais Lighting Groupís LED products enhance the retail, supermarket, commercial, museum, hospitality and utility environments of the world's leading brands. Solais Lighting Group relentlessly pushes the innovation envelope to create products that replace traditional lighting technologies with zero compromise to aesthetics and performance. To learn more about Solais Lighting Group, visit us in person in Frisco, Texas, or online at

Two of our new product lines are now available to order!
The XC3, XC5 and XC7 modular cylinders come in a variety of finishes and mounting options. The WW asymmetrical track wall wash fixtures come in two sizes. Yoke mount versions are coming soon!