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The incredible rise of the LED

While scientists discovered the phenomenon of electroluminescence — where a material gives off light when an electric current or field is passed through it — more than one hundred years ago, it wasn’t until the 1960s that LEDs as we know them today started to appear. However, 1960s LEDs were a far cry from the ones now used to light houses, streets, television screens, and mobile devices. In fact, it’s only really in the last ten years that LEDs have matured enough to underpin the wide-scale luminescent revolution now taking place. So how do LEDs work, and what’s the story of their rapid rise to prominence?

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