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24 October 2014

Nakamura to receive Japan's Order of Culture Award

University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura has been selected to receive one of Japan’s highest honors: the 2014 Order of Culture Award. The medal, which recognizes contributions to the nation’s culture, will be presented by Emperor Akihito in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace on 3 November (which is also Day of Culture in Japan).

Nakamura, a professor of materials at UCSB, is among several award candidates selected by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Chosen from a list of people designated as Persons of Cultural Merit, the recipients of the Order of Culture award are decided by the Cabinet of Japan.

“The Order of Culture award is a significant acknowledgment that professor Nakamura’s invention of the first bright blue light-emitting diode will continue to be recognized the world over for its long-lasting and far-reaching impacts on our global society,” comments UCSB’s chancellor Henry T. Yang. “By making white LED lighting a reality, he has opened the door to affordable, energy-efficient lighting… He also has advanced the frontiers of science with his unparalleled breakthroughs in physics, materials science and technology,” he adds.

Nakamura is widely recognized as the world pioneer in light emitters based on the wide-bandgap semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) and its alloys with aluminium and indium.

Nakamura at the press conference for his Nobel Prize in Physics. (Photo Credit: Sonia Fernandez.) Picture: Nakamura at the press conference for his Nobel Prize in Physics. (Photo Credit: Sonia Fernandez.)

The Order of Culture award comes in the wake of Nakamura winning the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics (shared with professors Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano) in recognition of the development of the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which, in turn, paved the way for the white LED. Amano has also been selected for the 2014 Order of Culture medal. Akasaki was awarded the Order of Culture in 2011.

Nakamura received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tokushima, Japan. He spent the early years of his career in research at Japan’s Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd, followed by a year at the University of Florida as a visiting research associate. In 1989, he initiated research into blue LEDs using group-III nitride materials. In 1993 and 1995, respectively, he developed the first group-III nitride-based blue/green LEDs then the first group-III nitride-based violet laser diodes (LDs). Nakamura is currently co-director at UCSB’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC), where he continues to develop GaN thin-film technology.

Nakamura joined the faculty at UCSB in 2000 as professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering. He was appointed to the Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting and Display in 2001. Six years later he and his team of researchers at what was then known as the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center at UCSB achieved lasing operation in non-polar GaN semiconductors. Their demonstration of the first non-polar blue-violet laser diodes represented a breakthrough in laser diode development.

Nakamura has previously received other awards and honors including the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Nishina Memorial Award (1996), the Materials Research Society Medal (1997), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize (1998), the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2002), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), The Harvey Award (2009), the Technology and the Engineering Emmy Award (2011) and the LED Pioneer Award (2012). Also, in 2003 he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering.

See related items:

Professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura awarded Nobel Prize for physics

Tags: Shuji Nakamura Blue LEDs

Visit: www.materials.ucsb.edu/recruitment/Faculty/nakamura/nakamura.php

Visit: www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2014

Visit: http://ssleec.ucsb.edu

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