LEDs, or Light-Emitting Diodes, are a semiconductor source of light, which emit photons when electrons recombine with electron holes within the device. Ranging from most basic electronic equipment all the way to expensive cars and advanced lighting devices, LEDs can be found in a multitude of colors and configurations.
But who invented LEDs?
LEDs are a brainchild of Nick Holonyak (John Bardeen‘s first Ph.D student), who is often referred to as the father of the light emitting diode. While working as a consultant for General Electric’s laboratory, Nick Holonyak invented the first useful and visible LED in 1962. Although early LEDs were available only in red, Nick’s graduate student Goerge Craford invented the first yellow LED and managed to improve the brightness of the red LED by the factor of ten.
As expected, commercial application of LED technology followed soon after the basics have been established. In early days, LEDs were used mainly on seven-segment displays of high-end electronic equipment where they replaced incandescent indicator lamps. It wasn’t long before LEDs found their way into consumer products like TVs, telephones etc. With a lifetime of up to 100,000 hours, LEDs became an obvious choice for mass produced electronic equipment.
Today, as a result of technological advancements, LEDs are capable of high-power illumination which is the reason they are becoming more and more preferred source of light.