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Persistence pays off for blue LED researcher

Metro Teknik · 20 Feb 2008
Uppdaterad 15 Feb 2011
In 1989, Nakamura was virtually alone in his work on LEDs when his supervisor at Nichia Chemical Industries in Japan suggested he quit because his research wasn''t going anywhere.

In 1989, Nakamura was virtually alone in his work on LEDs when his supervisor at Nichia Chemical Industries in Japan suggested he quit because his research wasn''t going anywhere. Foto: Rikard Kilström


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Shuji Nakamura is the man who discovered the blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) used in the newest DVD players.Later research by Nakamura led to white LEDs, which may eventually replace much of the world''s lighting.His work earned him the 2006 Millennium Technology Award, the tech world equivalent of the Nobel Prize.In 1989, Nakamura was virtually alone in his work on LEDs when his supervisor at Nichia Chemical Industries in Japan suggested he quit because his research wasn''t going anywhere.An angry Nakamura sought and received approval to continue his work from the firm''s 75-year-old founder.He then toiled for years at the University of Florida until he finally achieved his breakthrough in 1993 by successfully producing blue LEDs.Today, his relationship with Nichia is strained due to a bitterlawsuit about company secrets.Nevertheless, he is excited about LED''s potential for fighting future climate challenges."In the US, 30 percent of all energy consumption goes to lighting. That figure will shrink dramatically when we switch over to LED lighting," he said.

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