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7 October 2014

Professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura awarded Nobel Prize for physics

Named at a press conference in Sweden, professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura have been jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics for their development of the first blue LEDs. Each will share prize money of eight million kronor (approximately USD1.1m/£0.7m).

Committee chair, professor Per Delsing, from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, said,
"What's fascinating is that a lot of big companies really tried to do this and they failed. But these guys persisted and they tried and tried again, and eventually they actually succeeded."

By the start of the 1990s, red and green LEDs had been in production for several decades, but the creation of blue LEDs remained an important challenge. It would take blue LEDs to enable the mixing of all three colours to create white light.

In 1986, professors Akasaki and Amano, at Japan’s Nagoya University, made a breakthrough when they developed a technique to grow larger crystals than had previously been achieved of the compound semiconductor gallium nitride.

In 1990, Nakamura made the final breakthrough. Working at Japan’s Nichia Chemicals, he developed a technique that manipulated crystal growth temperature, which resulted in the production of gallium nitride crystals capable of being processed into blue LEDs. From here it was a short step to creating white LED light. 

Nakamura has received many awards for his achievements, including: the Nishina Memorial Award (1996), the Materials Research Society Medal Award (1997), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize (1998), the Benjamin Franklin Medal Award (2002), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), The Harvey Award (2009), and the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (2012) awarded by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). He was elected as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2003. Nakamura holds more than 100 patents and has published more than 400 papers in his field.

Tags: Shuji Nakamura Blue LEDs

Visit: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2014/press.html

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