Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The 2014 Nobel prize in physics awarded to Japan

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano at Nagoya University, Japan, and Shuji Nakamura of UC Santa Barbara have won for inventing blue light-emitting diodes, 'a new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source'

The invention of the blue LED was the final key to using light-emitting diodes – low power, long-lasting sources of light – in a panoply of different ways, which revolutionised countless technology sectors.

The Nobel Assembly itself focuses on the importance of blue LEDs to creating fully white light. White light is made from combining light from every other colour, but before blue LEDs, one crucial part of the spectrum was missing.

Now, by combining a blue, red and green LED, we can create even white light. You'll recognise it from the glow of your smartphone screen, where the low heat output and slim size of LEDs are a selling point, or from the backlight of a newer LED TV, where the low power usage lets manufacturers trumpet cheaper electricity bills.

Increasingly, white LED lamps are replacing other sources of light. In the home, for instance, LED bulbs are becoming a popular alternative to traditional CFC 'low power' bulbs. They use even less power, and last even longer, than the old-style bulbs, can reach full brightness immediately, and are frequently even programmable to display different hues of light.

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