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White Hot Future for LEDs

Today’s LEDs are true workhorses. Prized for their lower energy consumption, physical robustness and faster switching, they’re found in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, lighted wall paper and automotive headlamps, and are powering the next generation of video displays and sensors.

British experimenter Henry Joseph Round of Marconi Labs was tasked with developing a new direction-finding system for marine transportation. Experimenting with a crystal of silicon carbide and a “cat’s whisker” detector, he observed how light was created when the crystal was exposed to electric current. His findings were published in the journal Electrical World in 1907, yet the discovery would go largely forgotten for decades.

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