Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The life and times of the LED — a 100-year history

Many people believe that the LED was discovered by US researchers working in the 1960s. In fact, Henry Round at Marconi Labs noted the emission of light from a semiconductor diode 100 years ago and, independently, a forgotten Russian genius — Oleg Losev — discovered the LED.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Hall, R. N., Fenner, G. E., Kingsley, J. D., Soltys, T. J. & Carlson, R. O. Phys. Rev. Lett. 9, 366–368 (1962).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Holonyak, N. & Bevacqua, S. F. Appl. Phys. Lett. 1, 82–83 (1962).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Nathan, M. I., Dumke, W. P., Burns, G., Dill, F. H. & Lasher, G. Appl. Phys. Lett. 1, 62–63 (1962).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Quist, T. M. et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 1, 91–92 (1992).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Loebner, E. E. IEEE Trans. Electron Dev. 23, 675–699 (1976).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Novikov, M. A. in Ahead of the Time Ch. 1, 7–31 (N. I. Lobachevsky State Univ. of Nizhniy Novgorod Publishing, 2006).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Losev, O. V. Phil. Mag. 6, 1024–1044 (1928).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Losev, O. V. Physik. Zeitschr. 30, 920–923 (1929).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Losev, O. V. Physik. Zeitschr. 32, 692–696 (1931).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Losev, O. V. Physik. Zeitschr. 34, 397–403 (1933).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Losev, O. V. Telegrafiya i Telefoniya bez Provodov 44, 485–494 (1927).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Losev, O. V. Soviet patent 12191 (1929).

  13. Round, H. J. Electr. World, 49, 308 (1907).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The author is thankful to M. A. Novikov and V. S. Letokhov who provided valuable references and K. F. MacDonald for help in preparing the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zheludev, N. The life and times of the LED — a 100-year history. Nature Photon 1, 189–192 (2007).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing