Nobel prize for world’s first blue LED invention

Three scientists from the US and Japan has won the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing world’s first blue LEDs.

These LEDs will facilitate the development of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient light sources to be used in electronic gadgets.

The three scientists are Isamu Akasaki, a professor at Meijo University, Hiroshi Amano, a professor at Nagoya University, and Shuki Nakahmura, a Japanese-born professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The inventions were made in the early 1990s, achieving what scientists had been resolutely attempting for three decades. While red and green LEDs had been discovered, the blue LED was posing a challenge for researchers. Even scientists were unable to produce white light from LEDs, as all three colors needed to be mixed together for this to happen.

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Akasaki and Amano were working together at Nagoya University in the 1980s. They made developments in the production of semiconductor materials necessary for the blue diode, producing their first blue LED in 1992.

At the same time, since 1988, Nakamura had been working on his own diode at Nichia Chemicals. He too developed a way to generate a semiconductor with cheaper and simpler technique compared to the Akasaki-Amano effort.

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The white LED lamps that evolved from the invention emit very bright white light with high energy efficiency and lifespan, compared to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. LEDs can last some 100,000 hours helping to reduce materials consumption and minimize carbon emission.

With 20 percent of the world’s electricity used for lighting, it’s been calculated that optimal use of LED lighting could reduce this to 4 percent. This is physics research that is having a direct impact on the grandest of scales, helping protect the environment, as well as turning up in our everyday electronic gadgets, said, Frances Saunders, president, Institute of Physics.

In addition, these LED lamps have the potential to improve the quality of life and require very little energy input that can run on cheap local solar power.

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