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24 April 2015

Shuji Nakamura wins 2015 Global Energy Prize

Shuji Nakamura – professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) – has been announced as a winner of the 2015 Global Energy Prize.

To be presented at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on 19 June, the annual Russian award "honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world's various and pressing energy challenges". Joining 31 former Energy Prize laureates from 10 countries, Nakamura receives the award "for the invention, commercialization and development of energy-efficient white solid-state lighting technology".

Shuji Nakamura. Picture: Shuji Nakamura.

The award – which comes with a cash prize of 33 million rubles (about $645,000) – is shared by Nakamura with Jayant Baliga – professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and director of its Power Semiconductor Research Center – who is honored for the "invention, development and commercialization of the insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)… one of the most important innovations for the control and distribution of energy". 

Nakamura was one of three 2014 Nobel Prize winners in physics for the invention of the indium gallium nitride (InGaN) bright blue LED, which has led to the creation of the white LED and the ability to save energy, reduce carbon emissions and provide a low-energy, durable and sustainable light source for those with little or no access to electricity.

Following by the development of first red then green, orange and yellow LEDs, the blue LED was the most challenging to invent and was the remaining primary color. Nakamura not only used the promising but difficult-to-grow material gallium nitride (GaN) but also invented a means to manufacture high-quality GaN crystals. He debuted his high-efficiency bright blue LED in 1993.

"The applications and consequences of his pioneering work in solid-state lighting continue to grow, with far-reaching impact on fields ranging from information and communication, to energy and the environment, to health care and life sciences," comments UCSB's chancellor Henry T. Yang. "By making it possible to bring affordable, energy-efficient lighting to developing countries, professor Nakamura has made a tremendous humanitarian contribution to our world," he adds.

Nakamura is currenty also co-director of the campus's Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC), where his research focuses on growth and device fabrication of light-emitters based on GaN. "The Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center is so pleased that LED lighting is saving the world billions in energy costs and with further potential to bring cost-effective lighting to the developing world," comments Steve DenBaars, professor of materials and SSLEEC co-director.

Previous honors for Nakamura include 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), the LED Pioneer Award (2012), the Nobel Prize in Physics (2014), Japan's Order of Culture Medal (2014) and the Charles Stark Draper Prize (2015).

See related items:

Nakamura to receive Japan's Order of Culture Award

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

Tags: Shuji Nakamura Blue LEDs

Visit: www.globalenergyprize.org/en/laureates/2015

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

Visit: http://ssleec.ucsb.edu

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