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Blue LED Inventors Win Nobel Prize

Photonics.com
Oct 2014
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 7, 2014 — Three LED developers have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics.

Gallium nitride-based blue LEDs developed in the early 1990s by Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura enabled efficient and environmentally friendly white lighting.

“It is very satisfying to see that my dream of LED lighting has become a reality,” Nakamura said in a statement.“I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide.”  

The trio’s work “triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awarded the prize.

“Red and green diodes had been around for a long time but without blue light, white lamps could not be created,” the society wrote in a statement. “Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.”

Akasaki and Amano worked together at the University of Nagoya while Nakamura was employed at Nichia Chemicals in Tokushima, Japan. Nakamura is now a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The three will split a prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $1.11 million).

White LED lamp efficiency continues to improve, the society said, with 300 lm/W being the most recent record. Incandescent bulbs achieve about 16 lm/W and fluorescent lamps achieve about 70 lm/W.

“As about one-fourth of world electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes, the LEDs contribute to saving the Earth’s resources,” the society wrote. “Materials consumption is also diminished as LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, compared to 1000 hours for incandescent bulbs and 10,000 hours for fluorescent lights.”

“Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps,” the society wrote.

For more information, visit www.nobelprize.org.


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