Chinese Lantern

The other day one of those very cheap Chinese solar lanterns we had in the garden packed up.  No surprise there really, it was astonishing that it had survived so long.  Being loath to throw things away I dismantled the beast.  No protection against water ingress worth mentioning.  The tracks on the back of the solar cell had corroded away and the legs on a mystery 4 legged device were furry.  A careful wash in warm water, solder blobs over the missing tracks and all was well again.  But here is the odd thing.  The only components, apart from the solar cell, were the mystery 4 legged thing, probably a switch that connected the led to the battery when the output from the solar cell dropped, a resistor a white led and a  single NiMh double AA cell.  The solar cell looked as though it had been cobbled together from some left over rejects, three 38x3.5mm elements covered with a layer of varnish made to look like an impressively large 30x60mm cell.

Wait a minute I hear you say, a white led, where did it get enough volts to power that?  I have no idea.  The forward voltage across the device is around 1.1v and it is certainly white.  It's an odd looking thing...

You can just see two bond wires disappearing into the yellow murk.  It is not the brightest led I have ever seen, but I would love to know more about it.  Perhaps you will discover its secret.