The LED As We Know It Is 50 Years Old Today. In 1962, 50 years ago today, Nick Holonyak Jr. and his team at GE invented the Light Emitting Diode. While LED lights are almost everywhere today, their initial development was ripe with uncertainty and competitive research. A direct result of another groundbreaking technology of its day, the laser, LEDs have continued to evolve and now illuminate our homes and transmit our data.
In the early 1960s, LEDs were only capable of emitting infrared light. Nick Holonyak suggested using a mixture of gallium arsenide and gallium phosphide to create one that could produce visible light, but was shot down by his non-believing colleagues. Undeterred, he gave it a try and fortunately it worked: the LED as we know it today was born. Wednesday, October 10, 2012: Fifty years ago today, 33-year-old GE scientist Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr., invented the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode (LED).
50 Years of LED Technology article tells that Nick Holonyak was sure the LED would replace the incandescent light bulb when he presented it to GE executives 50 years ago. While the incandescent is still king in homes across the nation, the LED has transformed lighting in more ways than Holonyak could have imagined.
Wired Design caught up with Holonyak, now a professor at the University of Illinois, to ask him about the history, and future, of LEDs and published the material in How Lasers Inspired the Inventor of the LED article.
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