October 8: Â The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014 to Japanese scientists Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano and American Shuji Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.
Akasaki works at the Meijo University in Japan and Amano is professor at the Nagoya University. Nakamura, born in Japan but a U.S. citizen, works at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
â€œThe invention of the blue LED is just 20 years old,â€ the Swedish academy said in a statement, â€œbut it has already contributed to creating white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all.â€
A diode is a simple semiconductor device that typically allows current to flow in one direction only. An LED is a type of diode, made from several layers of semiconductor materials, that glows when electricity passes through it.
Red and green diodes have been approximately for half a century; what was required was a diode that emitted blue light. The idea was to unite the three and thereby generate the white light needed.
Dozens of labs and companies threw themselves at the problem. Although, 3 decades of intense effort, no one came up with a useful diode that emitted blue light. Drs. Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura eventually cracked the problem.
“With the advent of LED lamps we now have longer lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources,”