Nobel Prize/Physics

Light revolution

Print edition : November 14, 2014

Shuji Nakamura demonstrating a blue LED light in California on October 7, the day the Prize was announced. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

Isamu Akasaki (right) and Hiroshi Amano at a press conference at Nagoya University, Japan, on October 10. Photo: Toru YAMANAKA/AFP

Figure 1

Figure 2: An LED consists of several layers of semiconductingmaterials. Electrical voltage drives electrons from the n-layer and holes from the p-layer to the active layer, where they recombine and light is emitted. The light’s wavelength depends on the semiconducting material used. Photo: Courtesy: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Figure 3: The blue LED in this lamp consists of several different layers of gallium nitride (GaN). The figure shows the structure of a blue LED with a double heterojunction, InGaN/AlGaN. Combining GaN with indium (In) and aluminium (Al) to produce such heterojunction diodes improves the efficiency of the LED. Photo: Courtesy: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura jointly win the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the world’s first blue LED, which has unleashed a revolution in lighting up the world.
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