This morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, and three inventors of the blue LED -- Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura -- share the honor.
The three researchers will split $1.1 million in prize money. Akasake and Amano worked together, and Nakamura alone, to develop the breakthroughs that led to the blue-emitting InGaN LED and the blue/violet/UV laser diode in the 1980s and 1990s.
In this community Shuji Nakamura is well known, not only for his work on blue LEDs and blue lasers, but also for co-founding Soraa Inc. and for his continuing research into luminescent materials. The other two researchers have not received the same level of public notice in this country.
Isamu Akasaki is a Japanese citizen, born in 1929 in Chiran, Japan. He conducted pioneering research on blue LEDs in the 1970s to 1990s while a professor at Meijo University, Nagoya, and at Nagoya University in Japan.
Hiroshi Amano is a Japanese citizen, born in 1960 in Hamamatsu, Japan. He worked in Professor Akasaki's group beginning as an undergraduate in 1982. He describes his early research on his page at Nagoya University:
In 1985, I developed low-temperature deposited buffer layers for the growth of group III nitride semiconductor films on a sapphire substrate, which led to the realization of group-III-nitride semiconductor based light-emitting diodes and laser diodes. In 1989, I succeeded in growing p-type GaN and fabricating a p-n-junction-type GaN-based UV/blue light-emitting diode for the first time in the world.
Here are videos of the prize announcement and an interview given by Isamu Akasaki. Shuji Nakamura was awakened at 3:00 a.m. local time this morning by the phone call from Sweden; he will be giving a press conference at UC Santa Barbara this afternoon. If UCSB posts video, I will link to it in the comments.
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry prize will be announced tomorrow, October 8. Some handicapping favors Ching Tang and Steven van Slyke for the invention of the organic light-emitting diode.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting