LED Inventors Win 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics
The inventors of the blue light emitting diode (LED) have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics from The Royal Swedish Academy of Science. Dr. Shuji Nakamura, co-founder of
and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, both professors at Nagoya University in Japan, are credited with triggering a major transformation in lighting technology.
Blue LEDs create white light in a new way, offering a long-lasting and more efficient alternative to previous light sources. When Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s, the industry was finally able to produce white lamps by combining blue with the existing red and green diodes. Despite considerable scientific and industry-wide efforts, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.
“It is very satisfying to see that my dream of LED lighting has become a reality,” says Nakamura. “I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide.”
As a statement released by the Nobel committee reminds us, “Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.” The technology is constantly improving and becoming more efficient, with the strongest single LED already equaling 16 incandescent bulbs and close to 70 fluorescent lamps. Massive resource preservation is now possible, as about a quarter of the world’s electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes.
In 2007, Nakamura and professors Dr. Steven DenBaars and Dr. James Speck predicted that their GaN on GaN LED technology for Soraa would produce more light and be more cost-effective than technology based on other foreign substrates like sapphire or silicon carbide. Today, Soraa’s LEDs emit more light per LED material than any other LED.
“Shuji is simply brilliant and well deserving of this honor. Largely as a result of his work, Soraa has been able to push the boundaries of what is possible in high performance LED lighting,” says Jeff Parker, CEO of Soraa.