History and Important Milestones of LED Lighting Technology
You have certainly already realized that light-emitting diodes, commonly referred to as LED, has already revolutionized lighting as we know it and created a significant paradigm shift that is starting to show a great impact on not only the entire lighting and illumination industry, but also for end-consumers worldwide.
Since back in the days when Nick Holonyak - the "father of the light-emitting diode" - presented his first LED lights to GE executives some 50 years ago, LED lighting technology has undergone several major improvements and is currently still at the beginning of a development journey that certainly will show many more innovative applications for LED lights during the next few years and throughout this decade.
Initially introduced as dim, red replacements for conventional incandescent indicators, LED lighting technology has now transformed everything from home and office electronics applications to entire urban planning schemes. LED lighting technology has undoubtedly brought illumination to an entirely new level and revolutionized the lighting industry.
To celebrate half a century of revolutionary LED evolution, we at LEDLuxor would like to shed some light at some of the developments and innovation milestones that shows how LED technology has granted its benefits to the world and end-consumers.
The First Red LED Lights
At the very beginning of the LED illumination (r)evolution stands the little red light diode, which was born not from an esthetic choice but rather as the result of the chemical make up and production process of the first light-emitting diodes:
Several layers of semiconductor crystals are built upon a wafer and as these layers are built, certain dopants are added. The first mixture used for LEDs consisted of gallium arsenide phosphide, consisting of the placement of a wafer into a molten liquid solution combined with the main metal contacts and leads.
This chemical combination produces a natural red light, which helps to explain also why red was and still is the color of choice for most indicator lights, and especially those that are based on LED technology.
LED Pocket Calculators
Approximately ten years after the first red LED light began to shine, LED lights became stronger in power and began to replace incandescent light bulbs in electronics. Many readers will recall the days before laptops, smartphones and the internet where pocket calculators were the way forward when it came to calculations and mathematics. In 1971, the first LED-powered calculator was launched by Mostek, going for about US$ 400 each, followed up by several models by Texas Instruments that hit the market later that year and soon became a must-have accessory for many.
The LED Watch
Shortly after LED calculators hit the market, another revolutionary tool wowed the market – the first LED watch. As the first LED application in such a small package, the watches sold for about US$ 2,000 each. Depending on electronics to tell time and being up to 60 seconds accurate per year, the watches were a big hit nevertheless. In contrast to the technology of 2013, where battery life can last up to several years without needing a recharge, these first LED watches used extensive power and thus were to be pressed in order to see the time. Fun fact: 1975, the year of the first LED calculator watch, was coincidentally also the time teachers started asking their students to show their work on mathematics examinations – for obvious reasons!
Early LED Flat Panel TV Screen
It was not long before LEDs were taken to another whole new level. In 1977, James P. Mitchell developed the first LED display screen. The scalable display of this first LED screen was enabled by MV50 LEDs and at that time cutting-edge transistor technology that used a combination of logic memory addressing for advanced circuit technology together with the main LED technology.
This red monochromatic display quickly received recognition from international business representatives as well as the NASA and further inspired the development of future similar scanning design methods used for LCD matrix designs, now commonly utilized on TV screens worldwide.
LEDs as Light Sources
After several years of intense research and developments in the LED industry, a milestone breakthrough in LED technology finally led to the introduction of bright blue lights, revolutionizing LED illumination from a red indication signal to a light source that would soon be irreplaceable. By 1993, LED lighting had already mostly replaced conventional incandescent lights in the flashlight industry. They were popular due to their amazing benefits for the customer:
LED flashlights use less power and the light diodes seemed to last infinitely.
The Optical LED Mouse
When you think back to the 90s, one of the less pleasurable memories you may have would be the frustration you experienced repeatedly hitting your mouse on its likely unattractive mouse-pad in order to get the dust and dirt off its motion ball when it stopped doing what you wanted it to. These frustrations came to an end when LED technology took over the mouse industry in 1999, with Microsoft’s introduction of its first optical computer mouse. Thanks to LED technology and the accompanying image sensors, computer mice now tracked movement across any surface:
Something one may take for granted now due to our affinity with touch-screens, integrated mouse pads and other movement detection technologies. Nowadays, it’s difficult to think of an office world without this successful LED application.
LED Television Flatscreens
Over the past 15 years, CCFL-driven screens have been replaced in most households across the globe with LED-backlit TV screens. Not only does LED technology ensure less power usage and thereby keeps your electricity bills lower than before, but the viewer experience has become far more pleasurable due to higher ratios and improved color gamut, which greatly improves the way colors and contrasts are shown.
In 2012, LG presented a brand-new OLED HDTV, composed of organic carbon-based compounds and featuring organic light-emitting diodes. These are illuminated by an electrical current, thereby not consuming additional backlight. The benefits of this milestone revolution its practicality due to low weight and size as well as a richer color scheme and high contrast ratios.
Although still selling at a higher price than commonly held LED TV screens, at the rate at which LED is developing, we are expecting a fast drop in price and spread of this product over the next years.
LED Lighting Transforming Entire Cities
Due to the significant advantages of LED lighting technology we currently see how LED illumination is being deployed on a larger scale, as both rural areas in emerging markets as well as in the urban parts of the globe are quickly and eagerly adapting to the significant environmental and financial and economical benefits of LED illumination.
From LED-driven lights at Germany’s famous traditional Christmas markets, to fascinating New Year’s Eve spectacles on Times Square or a rapid change to LED traffic lights across Los Angeles to LED light bulbs in villages of developing countries - today LED lighting technology is found everywhere and market acceptance will only continue to increase, improve and impress over the next few years as development and technology progresses.
From dim red indication lights, to the first pocket calculators and finally digital viewing experiences that change the way we perceive the world of images altogether LED lighting technology has rapidly improved the way we see and interact with our technology and planet. In an era of global warming, this environmentally friendly approach to illumination along with its high financial benefits will only continue to take over the world step by step and one light-emitting diode at a time.
We at LEDLuxor are glad to serve as your professional wholesale supplier of LED lights both for commercial and residential purposes and take pride in supplying corporate customers worldwide with quality LED lighting solutions directly from certified manufacturers and upstream technology providers to leading conditions.
Feel free to contact our Sales Team now for a detailed LED wholesale quotation!