Passive and Active Heatsink
An LED heat sink can work in either of two ways: as a passive heatsink or as an active heatsink. A passive LED heat sink, when attached to an LED mechanism, diverts much of the generated heat away from the LED and into itself. To this end, most LED heat sink devices in the market are made of conductive metal. Some researchers, however, experiment with gels and other substances for use as heatsinks.
In the same fashion, an active LED heatsink also draws heat away from the LED. The addition of a fan further increases the heat sink's cooling capabilities, making active heat sinks a popular choice among computer owners. Although an active LED heat sink does provide stronger cooling, the power needed to run the fan diminishes the energy efficiency of the LED. Active LED heat sinks are also less effective without an adequate amount of ventilation holes in the computer's frame.
Both a fanless heat sink and an active one are attached to the LED device using connectors that are themselves effective in diverting heat. In some cases, a carbon steel heatsink clip can be used to attach an LED heat sink to the device. In others, a special heatsink paste can hold the LED heat sink firmly in place. Both options are effective in attaching the heat sink to the device, but heat sink paste is more often preferred due to the minimal weight it adds. The weight difference can be significant in reducing the strain on some computer boards.
Much research is put into creating an efficient high-powered LED heat sink. With energy efficiency a high priority in developing technologies, many manufacturers are turning to high-powered LEDs, which can provide an even greater amount of light than average LEDs. One major drawback to high-powered LEDs, however, is that they also produce a much higher amount of heat. As a result, heat management is a crucial consideration for manufacturers hoping to utilize high-powered LEDs.