Dr. Shuji Nakamura, the LED breakthrough artist often credited for producing blue LEDs and blue lasers, was again recognized for his technological accomplishments. He was awarded the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize of 1 million Euros (about $1.26 million USD ) for his invention which the Millennium Prize Foundation of Finland says “created the conditions for applications that improve the quality of human life.” The Millennium Prize Foundation awards the world’s largest technology prize awarded every second year for innovations that improve or lead to improvements in the quality of human life.
The Millennium Prize Foundation credits Dr. Nakamura, a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), with producing a new sector in light producing semiconductor research and development which made possible the wide-scale industrial production of efficient LEDs and ultimately created the conditions that are expected to improve the quality of human life. Technically, while working at Japanese LED making company, Nichia, Dr. Nakamura created a method for growing high quality gallium nitride crystals on a large scale using a reactor of his own design. Gallium nitride crystals are the key component in blue LEDs and blue laser diodes. When coated with a light conversion technology such as a phosphor, a blue LED produces white light. His nitride growth innovations extend to GaN alloys of aluminum and indium. SecondPage Members can see the extended version of the story.