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The world is now a brighter and more sustainable place thanks to three scientists who succeeded where all others failed in the field of lighting technology. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura were awarded this year’s Nobel prize in physics for inventing the blue light emitting diode. This invention has helped create the transformational (and now ubiquitous) LED light.

Akasaki and Amano are both professors at Nagoya University in Japan, and Nakamura, co-founder of Soraa, is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

For over three decades, scientists tried tirelessly to create the elusive blue diode. Red and green diodes had existed for years, but when the three scientists produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors for the first time, they overcame one of the greatest technological challenges of the century. By combining blue diodes with existing red and green beams, the trio created the glowing white lamps we now see everywhere.

LED lights are on path to dramatically lower the cost of lighting worldwide and shift the industry to a new era of efficiency and sustainability. Unlike red and green diode technology, environmentally-friendly LED lights don’t contain any mercury. Today, they’re replacing traditional light bulbs and fluorescent lamps everywhere, from streets and living rooms to smart phones and airplanes.

Congratulations to Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura on this well deserved recognition.

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