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2014 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to inventors of blue LEDs


Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano at the University of Nagoya, and Shuji Nakamura working at Nichia Chemicals in Tokushima, Japan have proven more successful, being awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue LED, which is the key to modern energy-efficient lighting.

The blue light emitting diode (LED) is the basis for modern energy-saving, environmentally friendly light bulbs as well as a range of cutting-edge applications. Invented in its practical form just 20 years ago, the blue LED is the long sought after "missing link" of lighting technology that made LED lamps possible, yet eluded scientists and engineers for 30 years.

For most of human history, lighting was a variation on a lit rag stuck in a bowl of oil, but that changed in 1879 when the Swann-Edison incandescent bulb was invented. This was followed by the first fluorescent light invented by P. Cooper Hewitt in 1900. But until only recently lighting technology has remained an inefficient, energy heavy process.

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