courtesy Signify Shredded material from Signify’s 3D-printed luminaires, which are recyclable
courtesy Signify Shredded material from Signify’s 3D-printed luminaires, which are recyclable

LEDs have been used in electronics since the 1970s, but only recently have they entered—and transformed—the lighting and architectural design markets. Now LEDs are firmly established as energy-efficient replacements for incandescent and fluorescent lamps, as can be seen by the dearth of the latter products at industry trade shows.

Advances in solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies have made individual diodes smaller, brighter, more cost effective, and more versatile. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that switching indoor and outdoor products from conventional light sources to LEDs will result in a 75% reduction in energy use—a savings of nearly $630 billion—from 2015 to 2035.

In the past, advancements in SSL by scientists and manufacturers often arose through trial and error, but research in this product category has become more methodical and purposeful. This article outlines recent achievements in the evolution of SSL technology.