Status and future outlook of III-V compound semiconductor visible-spectrum light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are presented. Light extraction techniques are reviewed and extraction efficiencies are quantified in the 60%+ (AlGaInP) and ~80% (InGaN) regimes for state-of-the-art devices. The phosphor-based white LED concept is reviewed and recent performance discussed, showing that high-power white LEDs now approach the 100-lm/W regime. Devices employing multiple phosphors for “warm” white color temperatures (~3000–4000 K) and high color rendering (CRI > 80), which provide properties critical for many illumination applications, are discussed. Recent developments in chip design, packaging, and high current performance lead to very high luminance devices (~50 Mcd/m<sup>2</sup> white at 1 A forward current in 1 x 1 mm<sup>2</sup> chip) that are suitable for application to automotive forward lighting. A prognosis for future LED performance levels is considered given further improvements in internal quantum efficiency, which to date lag achievements in light extraction efficiency for InGaN LEDs.
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