Akasaki, Isamu

Akasaki, Isamu, 1929–2021, Japanese physicist, b. Chiran, Japan, Kyoto Univ. (BA, 1942), Nagoya Univ. (Ph.D., 1964). Aftger graduating from college, Akasaki worked as an engineer before returning to school to complete his Ph.D. He returned to working for industry until 1992, when he joined the engineereing faculty at Nagoya Univ. where he taught for ten years before being named professor emeritus; he later taught at Meijo Univ., where he also headed its Research Center for Nitride Semiconductor Core Technologies until 2019. Akasaki shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which has enabled the development of bright, energy-saving white light sources. The three scientists, Akasaki and Amano working together at Nagoya Univ. and Nakamura working independently, found a way to produce blue light from semiconductors in the early 1990s. This allowed white light LED sources to be developed through the combination of blue LEDs with pre-existing red and green LEDs. The invention has allowed the incandescent bulbs that lit the world of the 20th cent. to be replaced by energy-saving and more environmentally friendly LED light sources. In addition to his Nobel Prize, Akasaki won numerous awards in the sciences and was selected by Japan's emperor in 2011 to be awarded the country's Order of Culture.

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