9 feb. 2024

#Veritasium published an AWESOME video about the very unlikely invention of the blue LED. It’s an *incredible* story and you really should view it. It also contains the best visualization of semiconductors I’ve ever seen.

I witnessed the drama of the blue LED live in the 1990s. I watched tech magazines show dim blue prototypes for years until Nichia suddenly burst on the scenes with a bright blue LED and it changed the world. I watched as they created their first white LEDs ($1 apiece) which I gawked at in person. I was at Honeywell when they finally made white LEDs in surface-mount format (still $1 apiece). We used 50 of them as the backlight in the aviation GPS navigator I worked on (at $50 the backlight was one of the most expensive components in the whole system). They were so hot (100 mW each for a total of 5 W) we used them as *heaters* when the unit was below operating temperatures.

When I read about how Nakamura got screwed by Nichia, I was livid.

#technology #history

Why It Was Almost Impossible to Make the Blue LED

The blue LED was supposed to be impossible—until a young engineer proposed a moonshot idea. Head to to start your free 30-da…

Want to know when I post new content to my blog? It's a simple as registering for free to an RSS aggregator (Feedly, NewsBlur, Inoreader, …) and adding to your feeds (or if you want to subscribe to all my topics). We don't need newsletters, and we don't need Twitter; RSS still exists.

Legal information: This blog is hosted par OVH, 2 rue Kellermann, 59100 Roubaix, France,

Personal data about this blog's readers are not used nor transmitted to third-parties. Comment authors can request their deletion by e-mail.

All contents © the author or quoted under fair use.