Lighting knowledge

LED History

Tags: LED discovery, LED panel, LED


The first known report of a light-emitting solid-state diode was made in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round. However, no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades.[18] Independently, Oleg Vladimirovich Losev published "Luminous carborundum [[silicon carbide]] detector and detection with crystals" in the Russian journal Telegrafiya i Telefoniya bez Provodov (Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony).[19] Losev's work languished for decades.

The first practical LED was invented by Nick Holonyak, Jr., in 1962 while he was at General Electric Company. The first LEDs became commercially available in late 1960s, and were red. They were commonly used as replacements for incandescent indicators, and in seven-segment displays, first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment, then later in such appliances as TVs, radios, telephones, calculators, and even watches. These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators, as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area. Later, other colors became widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. As the LED materials technology became more advanced, the light output was increased, and LEDs became bright enough to be used for illumination.

Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1-3/4 and 3 mm T1 packages, but with higher power, it has become increasingly necessary to get rid of the heat, so the packages have become more complex and adapted for heat dissipation. Packages for state-of-the-art high power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs (see, for example, Philips Lumileds).

LED panels

There are two types of LED panels: conventional, using discrete LEDs, and surface mounted device (SMD) panels. Most outdoor screens and some indoor screens are built around discrete LEDs, also known as individually mounted LEDs. A cluster of red, green, and blue diodes is driven together to form a full-color pixel, usually square in shape. These pixels are spaced evenly apart and are measured from center to center for absolute pixel resolution. The largest LED display in the world is over 1,500 feet (457.2 m) long and is located in Las Vegas, Nevada covering the Fremont Street Experience.

Most indoor screens on the market are built using SMD technology --a trend that is now extending to the outdoor market. An SMD pixel consists of red, green, and blue diodes mounted on a chipset, which is then mounted on the driver PC board. The individual diodes are smaller than a pinhead and are set very close together. The difference is that the maximum viewing distance is reduced by 25% from the discrete diode screen with the same resolution.

LED panels allow for smaller sets of interchangeable LEDs to be one large display.Indoor use generally requires a screen that is based on SMD technology and has a minimum brightness of 600 candelas per square meter (unofficially called nits). This will usually be more than sufficient for corporate and retail applications, but under high ambient-brightness conditions, higher brightness may be required for visibility. Fashion and auto shows are two examples of high-brightness stage led lighting that may require higher LED brightness.Conversely, when a screen may appear in a shot on a television show, the requirement will often be for lower brightness levels with lower color temperatures (common displays have a white point of 6500 to 9000 K, which is much bluer than the common led lighting on a television production set).

For outdoor use, at least 2,000 nits are required for most situations, whereas higher brightness types of up to 5,000 nits cope even better with direct sunlight on the screen. (The brightness of LED panels can be reduced from the designed maximum, if required.)

Suitable locations for large display panels are identified by factors such as line of sight, local authority planning requirements (if the installation is to become semi-permanent), vehicular access (trucks carrying the screen, truck-mounted screens, or cranes),cable runs for power and video (accounting for both distance and health and safety requirements), power, suitability of the ground for the location of the screen (if there are no pipes, shallow drains, caves, or tunnels that may not be able to support heavy loads), and overhead obstructions

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