LED is a New Technology myth

When Was LED Invented?

The first light-emitting diode (LED) was created in 1927, but LED technology wasn’t mass-marketed or mass-produced until the 1990’s. To understand the history of LED we take a look at the history of electroluminescence (the electric light effect LED creates), and related LED discoveries.

What is LED?

LED is a simple and cheap lighting technology that turns electricity into light as it passes through the “diode” (a type of semiconductor that conducts electricity in one direction). Different diodes light up different colors corresponding to the energy of the photon (see Planck’s constant, or the video below, for the physics of that).

How does LED work?

What are LEDs Used For?

Light Emitting Diodes have many applications, your TV could be LED, sports flood lighting is often LED, and the little blinky pin in your drawer is LED too. There are many practical applications for LED. Learn more about LED.

The History of the Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

The history of LED technology begins with the discovery of Electroluminescence (when materials emit light in response to the passage of electrical current) in 1907. Electroluminescence as a phenomenon was discovered in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round of Marconi Labs, using a crystal of silicon carbide and a cat’s whisker detector.[2]

A history of the Light Emitting Diode.

Who Invented an LED?

The first true LED wasn’t created until at least 1927 by Oleg Vladimirovich Losev. Losev was soviet scientist who made many discoveries in solid-state electronics. He developed the first solid-state semiconductor amplifier and generator. Unfortunately he died of starvation in 1942 during the blockade of Leningrad, so historical specifics on his work are limited.[7]

Both the button battery and the LED were developed during WWII. However, it took decades before the technology was developed to mass-produce them.

The Birth of the Modern LED

“In 1962 four research groups in the USA simultaneously reported a functioning LED semiconductor laser based on gallium arsenide crystals. Three of these papers were published in the same volume of Applied Physics Letters.”[7][8] Researchers at IBM, MIT, and General Electric were all working on the same problem. MIT’s Robert Rediker, IBM’s Marshall Nathan as well as Robert Hall and Nick Holonyak of General Electric Company Labs and their co-authors developed these semiconductors at the same time. The early LEDs were low intensity red bulbs used for indicators in electronics. The use of LEDs in multiple colors as light sources is relatively recent.

The Light Emiting Diode (LED): Where did it come from? | Stuff of Genius. A look at Nick Holonyak.

Organic LED and Modern Usage

Today there are many types of LED and many uses for them, they have become cheap to make, and although they aren’t right for every situation new technology like quantum LED and organic LED promise to keep the light-emitting diode around for years to come.


  1. BU-101: When Was the Battery Invented?“. Batteryuniversity.com. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  2. Lithium-ion battery“. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  3. Lithium polymer battery“. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  4. Button cell“. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  5. The history of the battery“. Baj.or.jp. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  6. High Energy Density Lithium Batteries: Materials, Engineering, Applications“. Katerina E. Aifantis, Stephen A. Hackney, R. Vasant Kumar. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  7. 100 Years of Optoelectronics“. pdf p. 189, 2007 Nature Publishing Group. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  8. World’s first LED“. Gelighting.com. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  9. Gustave Trouvé: French Electrical Genius (1839-1902)“. Kevin Desmond. pp: 17, 45, 86, 87, 103, 184, 189. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  10. Gustave Trouvé“. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
  11. History of the battery“. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.

Author: Linda deSolla Price

Linda deSolla Price is the daughter of Derek de Solla Price, a physicist, historian, and Yale professor who was the first to formally study the History of Science. She holds...

Leave a comment

Your Vote: Click Your Vote

We'll never share your email with anyone else.