This paper begins by reviewing the current state of development of LEDs, their existing markets as well as their potential for energy conservation and their potential for gaining market share in the general illumination market. It discusses LED metrics such as chip size, lumens per watt, thermal resistance, and the recommended maximum current rating. The paper then goes on to consider the importance of non-imaging optics for both optically efficient and extremely compact LED lighting systems. Finally, microstructures useful for controlling the fields-of-view of LED lighting systems are considered and described in some detail. An extremely efficient and cost effective microstructure, called kinoform diffusers, is shown to have very unique properties that make this technology almost ideal for shaping the output beams of LED lighting systems. It concludes by illustrating some general illumination LED lighting systems© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.