AsianScientist (Apr. 29, 2015) – In recognition of his groundbreaking work in light-emitting diode (LED) technology, Professor Shuji Nakamura has been chosen as a 2015 Global Energy Prize Laureate. The prestigious Russian award “honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.”
Ubiquitous in today’s electronics, from cellphones to cars, computer and television displays to interior lighting, LED technology took decades to develop, beginning with red LEDs in the 1960s, followed by green, orange and yellow. Blue LEDs were the most challenging to invent and were the remaining primary color needed to make white LED light.
Nakamura took on the challenge, not only using the very promising but notoriously difficult semiconductor material gallium nitride (GaN), but also inventing a means to manufacture high-quality GaN crystals. He debuted his high-efficiency bright blue LED in 1993.
“I am so pleased that the Global Energy Prize committee has recognized my breakthrough work on indium gallium nitride (InGaN) LEDs, which has led to energy-efficient white LED lighting,” said Nakamura, who was one of three 2014 Nobel Prize winners in physics for the invention of the bright blue LED.
Now a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Nakamura is also the co-director of the campus’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC), where his research focuses on growth and device fabrication of light-emitters based on gallium nitride.
“The applications and consequences of his pioneering work in solid-state lighting continue to grow, with far-reaching impact on fields ranging from information and communication, to energy and the environment, to health care and life sciences. By making it possible to bring affordable, energy-efficient lighting to developing countries, Professor Nakamura has made a tremendous humanitarian contribution to our world,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.
Nakamura joins 31 Energy Prize laureates from ten countries. Winners have included prominent scientists such as Arthur Rosenfeld (US), awarded for his pioneering work in energy-efficient buildings; Akira Yoshino (Japan), recognized for the invention of lithium ion batteries; Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson (Iceland); honored for developing hydrogen into a viable alternative power source in Iceland.
Nakamura will receive his award at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 19.
Source: University of California, Santa Barbara.
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