LED at 50: An illuminating history by the light's inventor

The light-emitting diode has brightened our lives for half a century - from lighting up the city streets at night, to decorating Christmas trees each December.

The LED started life in October 1962, as a single red illumination in a General Electric research lab in New York state.

Now - as one of the world's biggest retailers, Ikea, announces that by 2016 the only lighting products it will sell will be LED-based ones - Prof Nick Holonyak Jr from the University of Illinois, takes a look back at how it all began with his invention of the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode.

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Images courtesy Science Photo Library, Getty Images, PA, University of Illinois and Nick Holonyak. Click bottom right for captions.

Music by Claudine Clark, Evermore and KPM Music. Slideshow by Paul Kerley.

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