Blue LEDs Win Nobel Prize In Physics Copyright Scott Olson, Getty Images

Blue LEDs Win Nobel Prize In Physics

Blue LEDs paved the way for white light sources, which are more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Copyright Scott Olson, Getty Images.

The Nobel Prize bestows awards to "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind." The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, which carved the way for energy efficient and environmentally friendly, white light sources, according to NPR.

UCSB Professor Shuji Nakamura demonstrates a blue laser diode. Copyright Red Rolle, Getty Images.

In the 1990s, Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan worked together while Shuji Nakamura of the U.S. operated independently, and all three produced bright blue light beams from their semiconductors, a feat which had evaded the scientific community for years despite the existence of red and green diodes for three decades. Without the blue light, white lamps could not be created.

This invention has helped improve the lives of many, saving energy and decreasing fuel costs. The LED bulb produces four times the amount of light of a fluorescent bulb and almost 20 times more than a standard incandescent bulb, all for the same amount of energy, according to The New York Times. LED bulbs also last 10 times longer than fluorescent and 100 times longer than incandescent. 

For more, read the articles on NPR and The New York Times. Watch the video below to hear Per Delsing, Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee speak about the invention of blue LEDs.

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