2014 Nobel Prize for Physics Goes to Three Blue LED Inventors  

World | October 8, 2014, Wednesday // 09:20|  views

Japanese-American professor Shuji Nakamura from the University of California at Santa Barbara stands in front of some scientific formulas in his office at UCSB in Goleta, California, USA, 7 October 2014.

Three physicists have been awarded the 2014 Nobel prize for inventing blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), “which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”

According to Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born Shuji Nakamura, who is now a US citizen “succeeded where everyone else had failed” by finding a way to produce blue light beams from semiconductors in the early 1990s. 

The trio will share the SEK 8 M (USD 1.1 M) Nobel prize.

While other scientists had produced green and red LEDs, the lack of blue diodes prevented production of white light. The invention of the three scientists helped create a whole new industry with LEDs going to become the lighting source of this century, just like the incandescent light bulb was during the last century.   

LED lamps are now found in home and workplace lamps, in cars and in the screens of desktop computers and mobile devices, TV sets and cameras.

Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Nagoya University, Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, and Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, had been struggling with the challenge for three decades before finally succeeding in making semi-conductors produce blue light beams in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Their invention “triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology,” the Nobel Assembly said on Tuesday, adding LEDs have the potential to provide light where electricity is hard to come by and clean polluted water.

Since LEDs convert electricity directly into light, rather than wasting the majority of energy on heat, “we now have more long-lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources,” the assembly said.

With about a quarter of global electricity consumption used for lighting purposes, the highly energy-efficient LED lamps help save the Earth’s resources, according to the assembly.

According to forecasts of General Electric, one of the biggest players in lighting industry, LEDs will account for about 70% of a USD 100 B market by 2020, compared with 18% in 2012.

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Tags: Nobel, physics, blue LED, light-emitting diodes, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, Shuji Nakamura, light, electricity, energy


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