Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to energy-efficient LED light inventors | News | DW | 07.10.2014
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Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to energy-efficient LED light inventors

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics. They were recognized for inventing energy-saving, blue light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LEDs.

On Tuesday, the Royal Swedish Academy awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics to Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Shuji Nakamura of the United States.

"With the advent of LED lamps we now have more long lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources," the Nobel prize committee said, adding that their work had been a great contribution to society.

Even though the invention was only 20 years old, the researchers had "already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all," it added.

In the 1990s, the trio discovered how to produce blue light beams from semi-conductors. Combined with red and green, their contribution led to the invention of the white bulbs used for LED lamps.

The jury pointed to the benefits of the invention, particularly its efficiency compared to other standard lightbulbs at a time when one-fourth of developed nations' electrical consumption is used for lighting.

The research group will split the 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million; 870,000 euros) in prize money. They will receive their prize in Stockholm on December 10 at a formal ceremony.

The prestigious accolade was the second to be awarded so far this week. On Monday, a trio of brain researchers won the Nobel prize for medicine for discovering an "inner GPS," referring to the function in the brain that "makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function."

In 2013, the physics prize went to Briton Peter Higgs and Belgian Francois Englert for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson, a particle thought to be a key to explaining the universe. The elusive particle is seen as central in explaining why elementary matter has mass.

kms/jr (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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