LEDs are ubiquitous in today’s lighting landscape. But the lights have dimmed for one of the people who helped bring them into the world. Isamu Akasaki, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, passed away last week at the age of 92.
The story of Isamu Akasaki may as well be the story of LEDs. The first generation of these light sources combined red, green and blue light to create white light. The red and green components were successfully created in the 1950s and ’60s. Blue LEDs, on the other hand only came about in the late ’80s. It was thought to be something that was impossible to achieve. And the ones to make it were Dr Akasaki, alongside Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura.
As the NY Times reports, the trio were awarded their Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014. And it’s definitely an invention worthy of the prize, as LEDs meant cheaper, more durable and efficient light sources. As of 2019, LEDs make up nearly 60% of the global lighting market.
Unfortunately, Isamu Akasaki passed away last week on 1 April, of pneumonia. Though the inventor himself is now gone, his invention is here to stay for the foreseeable future.