Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura have won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences made the announcement on October 7, explaining that when the scientists “produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time but without blue light, white lamps could not be created.” White LED lamps are long-lasting and energy efficient. “The LED lamp holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids: due to low power requirements it can be powered by cheap local solar power,” continued the press release.
In terms of displays, the GaN technology for blue LEDs that the three men invented has made significant contributions to displays. LEDs have replaced CCFL backlighting systems, achieving both higher color gamut and lower power consumption.
Isamu Akasaki is with Meijo University and Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan. Hiroshi Amano is also with Nagoya University in Japan, and Shuji Nakamura is with the University of California in Santa Barbara. Both Nakamura and Akasaki received the Society for Information Display’s Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize in 2004 and 2013, respectively. In 2011, Nakamura delivered a Display Week keynote address: “Nitride-Based LEDs and Laser Diodes: Current Status, Bright Prospects!”