Technology Isamu Akasaki, 92, dies; Nobel winner lit up the world with LEDs

tom_mai78101

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Isamu Akasaki, a Japanese physicist who helped develop blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough in the development of LEDs that earned him a Nobel Prize and transformed the way the world is illuminated, died Thursday in a hospital in Nagoya, Japan. He was 92.

Meijo University in Nagoya, where he had been a professor, said the cause was pneumonia. He had also been affiliated with Nagoya University.

Akasaki shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 2014 with Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their invention of blue light-emitting diodes led the way for a vast wave of light sources that are cheaper, more durable and environmentally safer than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.

“They succeeded where everyone else had failed,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its prize citation. “Their inventions were revolutionary.”

Unlike incandescent bulbs, which heat metal filaments to create energy, and fluorescent lamps, which use ionized gas, LEDs are tiny semiconductor chips that emit photons of light when an electric current is applied to them.

First-generation LED lamps required a combination of red, green and blue light to produce familiar white light. While red and green diodes were first developed in the 1950s and ’60s, blue light proved to be a far more challenging hurdle.

Following early work at RCA in the late 1960s, Akasaki began trying to grow high-quality crystals of the semiconductor gallium nitride in the early ’70s at the Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo, an electronics company. Later, at the University of Nagoya, he was joined in his research by Amano, his graduate student at the time.


Read more here. (Seattle Times)
 
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    I would recommend searching for some first person experiences for the city you got the offer in. Especially now when the political situation in China is deteriorating.
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