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Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LEDs light up when current is applied.

LED LEDs are composed of gallium arsenide phosphide semiconductor diodes that glow red when current is applied. In watches and clocks these diodes, arranged in segments and electrified in the appropriate sequence by the watch's integrated circuit, light up to display the time.

LED technology was developed by researchers in the semi-conductor industry.

Pulsar These red digits we see on electronic watches and pocket calculators from the 1970s resulted from the work of independent groups of researchers exploring the properties of semiconductors in the 1950s and 1960s. The first LEDs were infrared (invisible) and unsuitable for displays.

Holonyak In 1962 Nick Holonyak Jr., while at General Electric, demonstrated the first visible-light laser, a semiconductor he and colleague S. F. Bevacqua made of gallium arsenide phosphide that glowed red when driven with electric current.

LED displays were available in 1964, but they were handmade and very expensive--about $10 per digit. These early light-emitting diodes became the basis of an important industry that complemented the integrated circuits in consumer microelectronics. Their intense brightness, long life, and miniature size made them attractive for use in digital watch displays. A popular novelty when they were first introduced in 1972, LED watches fell out of favor with consumers by the end of the decade.

Battery ~ Quartz Crystal
Time Displays ~ Integrated Circuits

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