A Brief History of LED Light

Maybe you are no stranger to led light strips, as you have seen them in many residential and commercial places in modern society. But do you know who invented LEDs? And how do LEDs work?

The development of LED is inseparable from the joint efforts of several individuals, while the most outstanding contribution belongs to a scientist named Nick Holonyak, Jr. who works for General Electric. He created the world’s first red LEDs (i.e. the first visible led model we use today) in 1962. At the time he didn’t know what kind of change his invention would bring to the lighting industry. Probably neither did he predict that LEDs would be the first choice for energy-efficient lighting one day in the future. The first batch of LEDs were sold in hundreds of dollars, beyond the spending power of most consumers. Due to exorbitant cost, LEDs has taken a long time to catch on despite its significant advantages.

You might be thinking, is the LEDs an accidental invention? Actually not. The emergence of LED technology can be dated back over 110 years. In 1907, British scientist Henry Joseph Round discovered the seminal phenomenon that electricity can make light. When a 10-volt current is applied to a silicon carbide crystal, positive electrons meet negatively charged electrons and light will be emitted. This phenomenon was given a technical term ‘electroluminescence’ by George Destriau in 1936. From 1924 to 1930, a series of papers published by Russian researcher Oleg Vladimirovich Losev outlined the potential of LEDs and their possible applications. It was these technical and theoretical foundations that laid a solid foundation for the subsequent creation of visible LEDs.

What is the advantage of LED then? The main advantage of LED lies its totally different way of working when compared with other traditional lighting sources. Incandescent bulbs use an electric current to heat a filament to emit light, but an LED, as a semiconductor, forces electrons to move by releasing photons and generate no heat. Of course, LED bulbs also require less electricity to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs. But research data verifies LED bulbs consume more than 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. And more surprisingly, the difference is even greater at low power levels. For instance, to produce the same light output, LED flood lights use only 11 to 12 watts, while incandescent bulbs need 50 watts.

Today, advances in LED technology are finally paying off. Our daily life has become more colorful thanks to the wide application of LEDs, from remote controls, TVs, computer monitors to lighting fixtures. In addition, led strip light and linear light have been developed. By connecting them with sensors, dimmers and other controlling methods, both practical and aesthetic purposes can be achieved. This type of LED lighting will undoubtedly and gradually replace traditional fluorescent lamps, CFLs or low-efficiency incandescent bulbs in the future.