The origin of LED lights (Light Emitting Diodes) dates back to the early 20th century, but the practical development and commercialization of LEDs took place over several decades. Here’s a brief overview of their history:
Discovery of the LED effect (1907-1962):
The foundation for LEDs was laid in 1907 when British experimenter H.J. Round discovered the first light-emitting diode effect while experimenting with silicon carbide crystals. However, the phenomenon was not well understood, and it would take several decades before the practical applications of this discovery were explored.
Early developments (1962-1970s):
In 1962, American engineer Nick Holonyak Jr., working at General Electric, successfully created the first practical visible-spectrum LED. He used gallium arsenide phosphide (GaAsP) to produce a red LED. This marked a significant milestone in LED technology.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, researchers continued to explore different semiconductor materials, which led to the development of LEDs emitting different colors, including yellow, green, and amber.
Introduction of high-brightness LEDs (1980s-1990s):
The 1980s and 1990s saw substantial advancements in LED technology. Japanese researcher Shuji Nakamura, while working at Nichia Corporation in 1993, developed the first high-brightness blue LED using gallium nitride (GaN) as the semiconductor material. This was a groundbreaking achievement because blue light is crucial for creating white light, which is essential for various lighting applications.
White LED development (1990s):
Combining blue LEDs with red and green phosphors allowed for the creation of white light, opening up new possibilities for practical lighting applications. White LEDs quickly gained popularity as an energy-efficient alternative to traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting.
Widespread adoption and advancements:
In the early 2000s, LED technology continued to improve rapidly, with increasing brightness, efficiency, and color quality. LEDs became widely adopted in various applications, including traffic signals, electronic displays, automotive lighting, and eventually general lighting.
Ongoing advancements and applications:
Advancements in LED technology have continued beyond the 2000s, with researchers and engineers working on improving efficiency, reducing costs, and expanding their range of applications. Today, LEDs are commonly used in street lighting, residential and commercial lighting, TVs, computer screens, smartphones, and many other devices.
The origin and development of LED lights are a result of the efforts and contributions of numerous researchers and engineers over the years, continuously pushing the boundaries of semiconductor technology and lighting science.