Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have come a long way over time, particularly in recent environment-conscious years, due to their extremely low energy consumption. They are a very simple device of two wires, and a crystal compound of Silicone (Si) and Carbon (C), creating Silicone carbide (SiC) - also commonly known as "carborundum". When sufficient voltage is supplied to the LED, in simple terms, a chemical reaction is instigated, causing light to be emitted - known as electroluminescence.
We see LED lighting everywhere - from torches, lamps and other lighting solutions, right through to vehicle dashboards, mobile phones, and now even computer screen back lights. So it's not hard to see why LED's have become so popular, consuming so little energy for such a massive light output.
But where did it all start? And were LED's always so phenomenal?
The early stages of LED Lights
The first report filed of the creation of light emission from a carborundum point-contact junction was by a Russian scientist named Oleg Vladimirovich Losev. At this point, the light emitted was extremely weak infra-red light, and no practical use could be seen for them, but it was a phenomenon worthy of being recorded.
After its discovery, many scientists recreated the effect reported by Losev, which eventually led to a man named Rubin Braunstein of the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) discovering that the emission of this infra-red beam could be detected remotely, which in turn led to further experiments, eventually resulting in the discovery of remote-control without radio signal. Then we begin to see infra-red remote-controlled radios and televisions! Remember as a child looking closely at that little clear bead on the end of your television remote control, and pressing buttons to see the tiny blip of light? Bring on the nostalgia! :-)
In terms of how we know and love them today however, LED lights were limited initially to not only low-level brightness, but also were not available in the beautiful colours we see them today - not even white! They were in fact limited to only giving red light.
How did LEDs become a popular lighting solution?
The gradual increase of the use of LEDs is quite simple - first commercial uses were seen in simple visual displays, later integrated into car dashboards and similar.
As scientists and engineers toyed more with LEDs, they have been somewhat perfected in terms of the amount of light they can be made to emit - still at very low energy levels.
With the environment in crisis over the excessive use of fossil fuels to power our electricity-hungry homes, scientists have been extremely eager to explore all avenues of creating a more environmentally-friendly solution for all common electrical appliances - and where better to start than lights? It's something every household has in common, we all use them.
So the LED has had a lot of time invested into it, and as a result, we now see absolutely beautiful decorative lighting all around us, all from LEDs. Which is not only great for our energy bills, but it's even better for the planet!
Don't forget, if you're interested in brightening up your home with some beautiful LED lighting, take a look at our beautiful Ambient LED Lighting