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Light-Emitting Diodes: A Hidden Treasure
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LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are cheap, easy to purchase, and thus commonly used in physics instruction as indicators of electric current or as sources of light (Fig. 1). In our opinion LEDs represent a unique piece of equipment that can be used to collect experimental evidence, and construct and test new ideas in almost every unit of a general physics course (and in many advanced courses) either (I) as “black boxes” that allow students to study certain properties of a system of interest, (II) as physical systems that allow students to learn an astonishing amount of physics that they usually do not encounter in a regular introductory physics course, and (III) as non-traditional devices that allow students to construct concepts that are traditionally a part of a general physics course.
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