Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, dies


Liz Ahlberg Touchstone, Illinois News Bureau

Nick Holonyak, Jr.  University of Illinois photo.
University of Illinois photo.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Nick Holonyak Jr., a renowned innovator of illumination, died Sept. 18 in Urbana, Ill. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor was 93 years old.

Holonyak (pronounced huh-LON-yak) is credited with the development of the first practical visible-spectrum LED, now commonly used worldwide in light bulbs, device displays and lasers. 

One of the earliest researchers in semiconductor materials and a pioneer in the field of optoelectronics – devices that convert electricity into light or vice versa – Holonyak also contributed to technologies in household dimmer switches, lasers that run CD and DVD players, fiber-optic communication lines, and other electronics and communications devices. Two presidents recognized Holonyak with national medals – George W. Bush with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2002, and George H. W. Bush with the National Medal of Science in 1990 for “his contributions as one of the Nation’s most prolific inventors in the area of semiconductor materials and devices.”

Read the full obituary on the News Bureau website >>