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92-year-old Isamu Akasaki dies; The Nobel laureate lit up the world with LEDs

Japanese astronomer Isamu Akasaki, who helped develop blue light emitting diodes, which led to the development of LEDs, which won him the Nobel Prize for “changing the way the world lights up”, died on Thursday at a hospital in Nagoya, Japan. He was 92 years old.

Mejo University in Nagoya, where he was already a professor, said the cause was pneumonia. He was associated with the University of Nagoya.

Akasaki shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 with Shuji Nakamura of Hiroshi Amano of Japan and the University of Santa Barbara, California. The invention of blue light emitting diodes has led to a huge wave of light sources that are cheaper, more durable and more environmentally friendly than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.

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

Unlike incandescent bulbs, which heat metal filaments to generate energy, fluorescent bulbs, which use ionized gas, are small 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. Although red-green LEDs were first developed in the 1950s and 1960s, blue light is a much more difficult obstacle.

After an early career at RCA in the late 1960s, Akasaki began experimenting with high-quality semiconductor gallium nitride crystals at the Matsushita Research Institute in Tokyo, an electronics company in the early 1970s. Later, at Nagoya University, Amano, a graduate student at the time, joined his research.

In the late 80’s they managed to get a blue light from their chips. Around the same time, Nakamura, who worked at Nichia Corp., a chemical company in Tokushima, built their breakthrough by producing a bright blue LED that would eventually allow chips to be applied to lighting.

Since then, LEDs have become ubiquitous, powering everything from flashlights to streetlights to televisions. They emit much less heat than incandescent bulbs, consume much less energy than fluorescents, and last much longer. 2017) – it is said in the e-mail. “The prevailing view in the late 1980s was that because of the number of defects in the crystalline structure of gallium nitride, it would never be possible to make light-emitting diodes out of it, so why even try?”

Akasaki, he continued, “was ready to stick to what was almost universally recognized as a lost cause, working long after RCA researchers rejected other American pioneers of gallium nitride LED technology.”

“In the end,” said John Onstone, “his persistence – transparent adultery – paid off.”

Physicist Gerhard Fasol, who has extensive knowledge of Japanese high-tech technology, said in an e-mail that the potential of LEDs is particularly remote in developing countries without reliable electricity, where “LEDs, along with battery cells, can greatly improve the quality of life.” education և trade! “

In 2019, LED products will account for almost 60% of the global lighting market, down from 10% in 2010, according to market research firm Strategies Unlimited, based in Nashville, Tennessee. LEDs are expected to account for more than 80 percent of all lighting sales in the United States by 2030, saving Americans $ 26 billion a year in electricity costs, according to the Department of Energy in 2015.

Isamu Akasaki was born on January 30, 1929, in Chiran, in southern Japan. After graduating from Kyoto University in 1952, he worked for Kobe Kogyo Corp. (later Fujitsu) until 1959. He then attended the University of Nagoya, where he held several lectures before earning a doctorate in engineering in 1964.

He continued his career in Matsusita before returning to Nagoya University in 1981 as a professor of electronics. In 1992, he was appointed Professor of Emitrus, then joined the faculty of Meijo University in Nagoya, where he was Director of the Nitrid Semiconductor Basic Technology Research Center. He has been working at the university since 2019.

Akasaki has received hundreds of patents over the years for his research, and the royalties from his groundbreaking work with Amano eventually funded a new research institute, the Akasaki Institute at Nagoya University, which was completed in 2006. In addition to his Nobel, he has received many other awards, including the Kyoto Prize in 2009 and the Emperor of Aponia in 2011. with the Order of Culture.

He had a wife, Ryoko. There is no complete information about his survivors.

In an interview with the Electrochemical Company in 2016, when asked to summarize the philosophy that guides his many years of one-sided research, Akasaki replied: “No pain, no benefit.”

«I say this to younger people. “Experience is the best teacher,” he continued. “That is, sometimes there is no royal way to learn.”

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