The National Academy of Television and Sciences will honor UCSB materials, electrical and computer engineering professor Shuji Nakamura at the 63rd Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards this January for his development of high efficiency blue, green and white LED lighting.
The academy established the awards — part of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — in 1948 to recognize individuals for their technological accomplishments impacting broadcast television. Nakamura began working at UCSB in 2000 after inventing the LEDs during the 1990s at the Nichia Chemical Company in Japan and is the university’s first professor to receive an Emmy.
According to Nakamura, scientists have attempted to develop blue and green high efficient LED lights since the 1960s.
“In order to make any kinds of colors, three primary color LEDs were required such as blue, green and red LEDs,” Nakamura said in an e-mail. “Since 1960, many scientists and engineers have tried to develop high efficient blue and green LEDs to make any kinds of colors, especially white LEDs using high efficient blue, green and red LEDs. However, nobody succeeded in making blue and green LEDs until I invented the first high efficient blue and green LEDs in 1993 and 1995 respectively.”
The eco-friendly development does not require the use of hazardous materials and could significantly reduce the electricity consumption.
Daniel Feezell, a project scientist working for Nakamura, said Nakamura’s work has impacted a wide-array of devices including televisions and mobile phones.
“Professor Nakamura pioneered the development of blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which directly led to high-efficiency full-color displays,” Feezell said in an e-mail. “His inventions have had a profound impact on a wide range of commercial products, including LCD televisions and mobile phones. Furthermore, high-efficiency white LEDs are expected to replace incandescent light bulbs for general illumination.”
Nakamura graduated with a doctorate degree in electronic engineering from the University of Tokushima in Japan.
According to Nakumara, he was awarded his Ph.D. for inventing the LEDs while studying for his master’s degree.
“No professors knew the semiconductor in my university. I developed these LED’s using my own special style,” Nakamura said. “Research is like solving a problem on [a quiz]. I like to solve the quiz.”
Nakamura also developed the two-flow metal organic chemical vapor deposition, p-type GaN and the first InGan layer during his tenure at the Nichia Chemical Company. Additionally, Nakamura became the Cree Chair of the UCSB Solid State Lighting and Display Center in 2001 and has received numerous other technology-related awards.
In a statement released Sept. 14, Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the LEDs have led to scientific and humanitarian improvements on a global scale.
“Since Professor Nakamura’s invention of the first bright blue light-emitting diode in 1993, white LED lighting has become a reality, and the world has changed,” Yang said in the press release. “Professor Nakamura has created new fields of research and expanded the boundaries of the possible. His inventions and discoveries have led to an unprecedented series of breakthroughs in physics, materials science, and technology, including high-density optical data storage, energy-saving solid-state lighting and displays, and even an ultraviolet water purification process.”