Illuminating the future with LEDs


  • Silvino Jose Antuña Presa School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Ireland.



Light-emitting diodes also known as LEDs are all around us: they are used in TVs, computers, mobile phones, street lighting and even in our homes in the form of new energy saving and long lifespan lamps. Now you might be wondering: “why all the fuss? Is this another ‘new thing’ that is going to disappear in a couple of years or is this something that is going to stay?” Well, to the truth, LEDs have been around for some time: they were initially used as small indicator lamps and for small displays; in fact, almost any appliance you may have at home will have a small LED lamp to tell you whether it is on or off. Things started to change when the first blue LED was demonstrated in 1994. Before this achievement the only available colours for LEDs with decent efficiency were red and orange-red. This was good for ...