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Meet Nick Holonyak who built the first LED 50 years ago

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By Jur BruijnsOn 13 Oct 2012

That “lamp of the future,” of course, is what we now call the light-emitting diode, or LED. Manchester could make his prophesy because he interviewed GE physicist Nick Holonyak who in 1962, 50 years ago this fall, built the world’s first LED. Holonyak’s diode emitted only red light but it lit a research boom whose multi-colored offspring now illuminate homes and cities, the latest iPad “retina” screens, and flat-screen TVs. “Boy, those were the golden years,” says Holonyak, now 83 years old. “When I went in, I didn’t realize all that we were going to do. As far as I am concerned, the modern LED starts at GE.”

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