95 years after the forgotten Russian genius Oleg Losev discovered light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, the semiconductor continues to irrevocably drive innovation – influencing everything from our nation’s infrastructure to food production, and the development of consumer electronics.
Global Tech LED produces a variety of LED products and solutions, creating the highest quality LED retrofit devices, modules, and fixtures. With their extensive knowledge of the technology behind their lighting solutions comes equal admiration for LEDs’ history.
The development of light-emitting diodes happened, gradually. Early pioneers like Losev, H.J. Round, and Rubin Braunstein laid the foundation in the first half of the 20th century, experimenting with crystals and gallium arsenide to produce the first examples of electroluminescence. Practical applications were few, however, until the fall of 1961, when a couple of Texas Instruments researchers discovered that gallium arsenide emitted infrared light when exposed to an electrical current. James R. Biard and Gary Pittman earned their place in history as the fathers of LED light when TI introduced the SNX-100, the first example of an infrared LED bulb, the following year.
Almost simultaneously, Nick Holonyak, Jr. of General Electric developed the first visible-spectrum LED. Holonyak’s red LED was later followed by yellow light in 1972, invented by M. George Craford, a former student of Holonyak’s. However, low light output from these LEDs limited their usefulness to anything more than indicators. For LEDs to become a legitimate source of light, researchers would have to figure out how to boost their output.
In the 1990s, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura did just that. With breakthrough development that earned the trio, the Nobel Prize in 2014; they invented the first blue light beams, creating a revolutionary step forward in commercial lighting technology. With the blue LED, bright white light was now a possibility. Today, companies like Global Tech LED are producing lights that make it possible to grow food indoors in huge warehouses such as Green Sense Farm outside Chicago. Replacing fluorescent grow lights with LEDs enables farmers to maximize space by stacking racks as little as two feet apart. With fourteen 25-foot-tall growing racks lined up in its 30,000-square-foot warehouse (that’s 1 million cubic feet of growing space), Green Sense puts out about 4,000 cases of produce per week.
Another huge advantage of LED lighting is its directionality; LEDs emit light in a specific direction. This makes LEDs more efficient for many uses, such as recessed downlights and task lighting. LEDs also emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat. These features were both important when the Vatican decided to find safer, more efficient lighting for the Sistine Chapel. In 2014, the chapel was fitted with 7,000 LED lights.
Global Tech LED understands that LEDs are the energy-efficient solution to light our future. LED lighting is green, efficient, long-lasting, and incredibly dynamic. If you haven’t introduced LED lights into your business, you’re behind the times