Although they are pervasive today, LEDs and lasers have gradually become standard technologies which power solutions that even 20 years ago would be impossible or impractical.

For LEDs, the underlying technology has existed for some 70 years or more, but until gallium nitride semiconductors become well developed and relatively inexpensive, it prevented their growth of this fundamental lighting. Since roughly the early 2000s, LEDs have become the de facto lighting standard for most electronics and many lighting fixtures. The small size, long life and energy efficiency offsets the additional manufacturing and acquisition cost of LEDs overall, when compared to incandescent or other lighting types.

For lasers, they have a bit more focus - in both light energy and practical applications. We've seen 21st Century growth in exciting applications: quantum computing, lidar, additive manufacturing and even communications.

Here is our chance to illuminate some key lighting and laser technologies.

Lighting the Way feature index