The first LED was invented in 1961 by Gary Pittman and Robert Biard as part of their duties for Texas Instruments. Their employment looked at the technology, determined it didn’t have a practical use because of its microscopic size, and moved on toward other projects.
A year later, Nick Holonyak, Jr. invented the first LED that produced a visible red light while performing his duties at General Electric. The changes he made to this technology helped him to earn the nickname the “Father of the LED.”
That decade saw numerous engineers and researchers experimenting with semiconductors to improve LED technologies. As they worked with different substrates, more colors became available.
In 1972, M. George Craford used a red and a green diode to create a yellow late. He also improved the output of this technology to create more brightness. That’s how Monsanto became the first company to mass-produce LEDs.
For the next 20 years, LEDs would be a niche industry. When Shuji Nakamura invented the blue LED in 1994, it would radically change the electronics industry and how the world perceived the production of this technology.
By coating a blue LED with a fluorescent phosphor, white lights were possible. That discovery led to the eventual production of LED light bulbs.