The Nobel Prize in Physics 2014
Born: 22 May 1954, Ikata, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."
Prize share: 1/3
Shuji Nakamura was born in Ikata, Japan. After studying electrical engineering at the University of Tokushima, he worked at the chemical and electronics company Nichia in Tokushima. This is where he conducted his Nobel Prize-awarded work. He received his doctorate in 1994 from the University of Tokushima and left Nichia in 1999 to become a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara in the United States.
Lighting plays a major role in our quality of life. The development of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has made more efficient light sources possible. Creating white light that can be used for lighting requires a combination of red, green, and blue light. Blue LEDs proved to be much more difficult to create than red and green diodes. During the 1980s and 1990s Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura successfully used the difficult-to-handle semiconductor gallium nitride to create efficient blue LEDs.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.