Technology

Why are LED lights everywhere? A short story

LED lights have been around us more than a century, but it is only in the recent decades that it’s used widely. It’s everywhere! Then why didn’t we use them before? Why are we replacing regular bulbs with LED ones? We will get there right away. But it doesn’t end here as new investigations aim to find more practical uses than just lighting our gadgets.

Milestones in the LED lights development

To understand our present, it is a good path to getting to know a bit about the past. Also, we want to have a glance at what might happen in the future based on what’s happening now: companies like lepro.com surfing the LED lights market.

Anyway, let’s take our first step and have a look at the most important milestones in LED’s history:

  • 1907 – Henry Joseph Round, an engineer at British Marconi, used a cat’s whisker detector with a silicon carbide. Thus, discovering light-emitting diodes. But he didn’t give it too much relevance and hardly wrote a small note on it.
  • 1920s – Oleg Losev discovered that the device used by Round works on quantum physics principles. Then, he published several papers to explain the process.
  • 1961 – James Biard and Gary Pittman from Texas Instruments came up with the infrared light emissions, but it can’t be seen by humans.
  • 1962 – Nick Holoyanks, while working for General Electrics, builds the first visible red light LED.
  • 1968 – Monsanto mass produced red light LEDs.
  • 1970s – George Craford created pale yellow light by using red and green Gallium Phosphide chips when working for Monsanto (1971). Subsequent investigations were handy to come up with pale green light (mid 1970s). But the real thing started when Fairchild Optoelectronics started to produce low-cost devices using led lights.
  • 1980s – Super-bright LEDs made their appearance.
  • 1990s – Scientists created ultra-bright LEDs by using Indium Gallium Aluminium Phosphide.
  • 1994 – Shuji Nakamura, along with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano found a way to emit ultra-bright blue light LEDs. They were honored with the 2014 Nobel Prize.

The technology behind LEDs

Thanks to Nakamura and the others, LEDs work as we know them today. LED stands for light-emitting diode where a diode means something that can conduct current in only one direction. The electricity excites electrons, when they come back, it releases energy in the form of photons.

Now, its color depends on how far this electron can go. Making it go a short distance is easy, and that’s why we got red LED lights first. Remember that the visible spectrum goes from red to violet. This way of producing light is more efficient because:

  • Uses less energy.
  • Light emitting devices last longer.
  • Avoids overheating.

In other words, LEDs are everywhere because they can produce high quality light, just like the best 4ft led shop lights do. By doing so, they use so much less electrical energy. Since they last longer, you can distribute their upfront cost between 5 to 10 years, depending on their use.

Some insights for the future

Nakamura found out a way to produce ultra-high blue led lights, but the visual spectrum includes violet too. This means there are chances to improve LED lights even further. Something that has already started.

However, Nakamura’s doings don’t end here. He is using LED lights on optoelectronics to create devices using light instead of electric current. This way, internal components can share data information such as from the processor to the memory.

Future looks promising, right? It seems like there is no turning back with LED lights, so we’d better jump to the skate and start replacing old bulbs with high-efficient LED ones!

 

Elias Stevens

Elias Stevens (elias@gadgetadvisor.com) is a freelance journalist, personal chef, and tech enthusiast.

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Elias Stevens
Tags: Lights

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