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Solid-state lighting is a rapidly evolving technology, now virtually certain to someday displace traditional lighting in applications ranging from the lowest-power spot illuminator to the highest-power area illuminator. Moreover, it has considerable headroom for continued evolution even after this initial displacement. In this paper, we present a high-level overview of solid-state lighting, with an emphasis on white lighting suitable for general illumination. We characterize in detail solid-state lighting's past and potential-future evolution using various performance and cost metrics, with special attention paid to inter-relationships between these metrics imposed by human factors, technology, and economic considerations.