The three men whose invention two decades ago led to the creation of LED technology have won the Nobel Prize in physics.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, from Japan, and US scientists Shuji Nakamura invented blue light-emitting diodes which led to modern day computer and smartphone displays.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the invention has “contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all.”

Until their invention, scientists had struggled for decades to produce the blue diodes that are a crucial component in producing white light from LEDs.

The three laureates made their breakthroughs in the early 1990s, transforming lighting technology.

LEDs are longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than older sources of light.


Prof Shuji Nakamura


Prof Hiroshi Amano

The Nobel committee said: “They succeeded where everyone else had failed.

“Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.”

Now 85, Prof Akasaki works at Meijo University and Nagoya University.

Prof Amano, 54, is also a professor at Nagoya University, while Prof Nakamura, 60, is professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Prof Akasaki said in a news conference that he had often been told his research would not work.

But he said he was confident he could succeed.

The Nobel committee said LEDs helped to conserve the Earth’s resources because about a quarter of world electricity consumption is used for lighting.

LEDs last 10 times longer than fluorescent lamps and 100 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

They will share a $1.1m (£680,000) prize.

Last year’s physics award went to Britain’s Peter Higgs and Belgian colleague Francois Englert for helping to explain how matter formed after the Big Bang.