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Oleg Vladimirovich Losev Was The First

To Actually Create An LED


Oleg Vladimirovich Losev lived from 10 May 1903 - 22 January 1942.
Being born into the noble family of a Russian Imperial Army officer was not exactly a good starting point in Bolshevik Russia, where people of such descent were banned from the career ladder.


Losev's Papers Were Much More Detailed
He published a number of papers and patents during his short career. His observations of LEDs languished for half a century before being recognized in the late 20th and early 21st century.

H. J. Round made a very brief report (only 2 paragraphs) in Electrical World in 1907, regarding light coming from SiC by electrical excitation. But Losev's papers provided much more detailed information than Round's.

In the course of his work as a radio technician, he noticed that diodes used in radio receivers emitted light when current was passed through them. In 1927, Losev published details in a Russian journal of the first-ever light-emitting diode.

In the period of 1924 and 1941, he published a number of articles detailing the function of a device that he developed, which would generate light via electroluminescence when electrons fall to a lower energy level.

In 1951, Kurt Lehovec et al. published an important paper in Physical Review, and while Losev's papers were cited, his name appeared as Lossew. Kurt Lehovec's theoretical explanation was much better than Losev's.

Both Round and Losev experimented with SiC which was used as a radio detector in the early days of wireless. However, SiC is an indirect bandgap semiconductor and very inefficient as a material for light-emitting diode.

GaN is a direct bandgap semiconductor and so expected to be the more efficient material. The light from even modern SiC LED is somewhat faint but the light from InGaN LED can be dazzlingly bright. Thus neither Round's nor Losev's pioneering work, even if it had been continued, was likely to lead to a practical success.

In the April 2007 issue of Nature Photonics, Nikolay Zheludev gives credit to Losev for inventing the LED. Specifically, Losev patented the "Light Relay" and foresaw its use in telecommunications.

Unfortunately, before this device could be developed, the Second World War intervened, and Losev died in 1942 during The Siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), at the age of 39.



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