Isamu Akasaki (赤崎 勇, Akasaki Isamu, January 30, 1929 - April 1, 2020) is a Japanese engineer and physicist, specializing in the field of semiconductor technology and Nobel Prize laureate, best known for inventing the bright gallium nitride (GaN) p-n junction blue LED in 1989 and subsequently the high-brightness GaN blue LED as well.
For this and other achievements, Akasaki was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology in 2009, and the IEEE Edison Medal in 2011. He was also awarded the 2014 Nobel prize in Physics, together with Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources". In 2021, Akasaki, along with Shuji Nakamura, Nick Holonyak, M. George Craford and Russell D. Dupuis were awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering "for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid state lighting technology".
1 Early life and education
3 Nagoya University Akasaki Institute
4 Professional record
5 Honors and awards
5.1 Scientific and academic
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Early life and education
Born in Kagoshima Prefecture, Akasaki graduated from Kyoto University in 1952, and obtained a Dr.Eng. degree in Electronics from Nagoya University in 1964. During college years, he visited shrines and temples that local residents rarely visit, walked around the mountains of Shinshu during the summer vacation, enjoyed classes and enjoyed a fulfilling student era.
He started working on GaN-based blue LEDs in the late 1960s. Step by step, he improved the quality of GaN crystals and device structures at Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo, Inc. (MRIT), where he decided to adopt metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) as the preferred growth method for GaN.
In 1981 he started afresh the growth of GaN by MOVPE at Nagoya University, and in 1985 he and his group succeeded in growing high-quality GaN on sapphire substrate by pioneering the low-temperature (LT) buffer layer technology.
This high-quality GaN enabled them to discover p-type GaN by doping with magnesium (Mg) and subsequent activation by electron irradiation (1989), to produce the first GaN p-n junction blue/UV LED (1989), and to achieve conductivity control of n-type GaN (1990) and related alloys (1991) by doping with silicon (Si), enabling the use of hetero structures and multiple quantum wells in the design and structure of more efficient p-n junction light emitting structures.
They achieved stimulated emission from the GaN firstly at room temperature in 1990, and developed in 1995 the stimulated emission at 388 nm with pulsed current injection from high-quality AlGaN/GaN/GaInN quantum well device. They verified quantum size effect (1991) and quantum confined Stark effect (1997) in nitride system, and in 2000 showed theoretically the orientation dependence of piezoelectric field and the existence of non-/semi-polar GaN crystals, which have triggered today's worldwide efforts to grow those crystals for application to more efficient light emitters.
Nagoya University Akasaki Institute
Akasaki's patents were produced from these inventions, and the patents have been rewarded as royalties. Nagoya University Akasaki Institute opened on October 20, 2006. The cost of construction of the institute was covered with the patent royalty income to the university, which was also used for a wide range of activities in Nagoya University. The institute consists of an LED gallery to display the history of blue LED research/developments and applications, an office for research collaboration, laboratories for innovative research, and Akasaki's office on the top sixth floor. The institute is situated in the center of the collaboration research zone in Nagoya University Higashiyama campus.
with Seiji Morimoto (in Sweden)
Akasaki worked as a Research Scientist from 1952 to 1959 at Kobe Kogyo Corporation (now, Fujitsu Ltd.). In 1959 he was a Research Associate, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor at the Department of Electronics at Nagoya University until 1964. Later in 1964, he was the Head of Basic Research Laboratory at Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo, Inc. until 1974 to later become a General Manager of Semiconductor Department (in the same institute until 1981. In 1981 he became a Professor in the Department of Electronics at Nagoya University until 1992.
From 1987 to 1990 he was a Project Leader of "Research and Development of GaN-based Blue Light–Emitting Diode" sponsored by Japan Science and Technology Agency(JST). Then from 1993 as a Project Leader of "Research and Development of GaN-based
Short-Wavelength Semiconductor Laser Diode" sponsored by JST until 1999. While he was working as a Project Leader of "Research and Development of GaN-based Short-Wavelength Semiconductor Laser Diode," he started in 1995 and until 1996 as a Visiting Professor of the Research Center for Interface Quantum Electronics at Hokkaido University. In 1996 he was a Project Leader of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science(JSPS)’s "Research for the Future" program" up to 2001. From 1996 he started as a Project Leader of "High-Tech Research Center for Nitride Semiconductors" at Meijo University, sponsored by MEXT until 2004. From 2003 up to 2006 he was the Chairman of "R&D Strategic Committee on the Wireless Devices Based on Nitride Semiconductors" sponsored by METI.
He is still working as a Professor Emeritus of Nagoya University, Professor of Meijo University since 1992. Also, as a Director of Research Center for Nitride Semiconductors at Meijo University since 2004. Also, still working as a Research Fellow at Akasaki Research Center of Nagoya University since 2001.
Honors and awards
Scientific and academic
with Shuji Nakamura and Hiroshi Amano (at the Grand Hôtel on December 8, 2014)
1989 – Japanese Association for Crystal Growth (JACG) Award
1991 – Chu-Nichi Culture Prize
1994 – Technological Contribution Award, Japanese Association for Crystal Growth in commemoration of its 20th anniversary
1995 – Heinrich Welker Gold Medal, the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors
1996 – Engineering Achievement Award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers / Lasers Electro-Optics Society
1998 – Inoue Harushige Award, Japan Science and Technology Agency
1998 – C&C Prize, the Nippon Electric Company Corporation
1998 – Laudise Prize, the International Organization for Crystal Growth
1998 – Jack A. Morton Award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
1998 – Rank Prize, the Rank Prize Foundation
1999 – Fellow, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
1999 – Gordon E. Moore Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Science and Technology, the Electrochemical Society
1999 – Honoris Causa Doctorate, the University of Montpellier II
1999 – Toray Science and Technology Prize, Toray Science Foundation
2001 – Asahi Prize, the Asahi Shinbun Cultural Foundation
2001 – Honoris Causa Doctorate, Linkoping University
2002 – Outstanding Achievement Award, the Japan Society of Applied Physics
2002 – Fujihara Award, the Fujihara Foundation of Science
2002 – Takeda Award, the Takeda Foundation
2003 – President's Award, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ)
2003 – Solid State Devices & Materials (SSDM) Award
2004 – Tokai TV Culture Prize
2004 – University Professor, Nagoya University
2006 – John Bardeen Award, the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
2006 – Outstanding Achievement Award, the Japanese Association for Crystal Growth
2007 – Honorable Lifetime Achievement Award, the 162nd Research Committee on Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Photonic and Electronic Devices, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)
2008 – Foreign Associate, the US National Academy of Engineering
2009 – Kyoto Prize Advanced Technology, the Inamori Foundation
2010 – Lifetime Professor, Meijo University
2011 – Edison Medal, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
2011 – Special Award for Intellectual Property Activities, the Japan Science and Technology Agency
2011 – Minami-Nippon Culture Prize-Honorable Prize
2014 – Nobel Prize in Physics together with prof. Hiroshi Amano and prof. Shuji Nakamura
2015 – Charles Stark Draper Prize
2015 – Asia Game Changer Award
Akasaki received the Order of Culture. After that, they posed for the photo. (at the East Garden of the Tokyo Imperial Palace on November 3, 2011)
1997 – Medal with Purple Ribbon, the Japanese Government
2002 – Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, the Japanese Government
2004 – Person of Cultural Merit, the Japanese Government
2011 – Order of Culture, the Japanese Emperor
List of Japanese Nobel laureates
List of Nobel laureates affiliated with Kyoto University
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