From billboards and brake lights to television and interior design, Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are everywhere. These devices contain a semiconducting material that glows when a voltage passes through them. Properties like lightweight design, power efficiency, and longevity put LEDs leagues ahead of traditional incandescent bulbs. Hence, it’s no surprise that the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering will be honoring the minds that helped develop this revolutionizing invention.
Physicists and engineers George Craford, Isamu Akasaki, Shuji Nakamura, Nick Holonyak, and Russell Dupuis were instrumental in developing LED technology. These pioneers have been making advances in LED technology for decades.
Thanks to their contributions, they have earned a share in an award valued at one million sterling pounds (£1m), around 1.4 million US dollars. Her Royal Highness Princess Royal congratulated them as well.
According to the chair of judges, the winner must not only have an impressive technological innovation. Rather, it should have a positive impact on humanity and inspire young engineers.
The laureates will attend a formal ceremony at a later date this year. There, they will receive the cash prize, as well as a trophy. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering organizers announced that the award, previously a biennial affair, would become an annual event.
LEDs and their importance in the Modern Age
The rate of power efficiency in LEDs has revolutionized the modern world. The innovation of LEDs also affects the current global climate crises by reducing total carbon emissions. With a diverse range of applications worldwide, LEDs take us a step further into a healthier and more convenient life. Their benefits include:
- Durability– Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs are less prone to breaking. They are made of glass but the epoxy lens. Therefore, the chances of led bulb shattering due to overheating are low.
- Safety– LEDs do not overheat. They remain cool due to efficient power consumption. Furthermore, there is no risk of burning your hands when touching the LEDs.
- Efficient– The conversion rate of electrical energy into light energy is high. Therefore, the wastage of energy in the form of heat is low instead of the filaments of the traditional light bulbs.
Applications of LED
LEDs are an example of solid-state lighting. With worldwide applications ranging from households to global industries using LEDs as their core feature, LEDs are a global necessity.
The invention and further development of LEDs in 1970s were the result of contributions by many renowned physicists and prolific scientists from around the world. Some of the applications of LEDs that influence the daily work and routine of many industries and households are below.
- Light Bulbs, in households, offices, and even the hospitals
- Automobiles, headlights, indicators, and brake light
- TV Screens and Panels, ranging from the house TV to the commercial display screen on the town square.
- Billboards, signage, and signals
- Cell Phone Screen. After the invention of blue light in 1993, there was a revolution in the cell phone industry.
- Sanitization, discharge of rays from LEDs at complex lengths, helps to neutralize germs and bacteria—the applications for this lie in water, solid, and liquid food treatments.
This shows the extent to which LEDs have made an impact on our lives, making its founders truly deserving of the award. Their achievements are sure to encourage young engineers to come forth with exceptional innovations.