Born in Kagoshima Prefecture in 1929, Dr Isamu Akasaki graduated from the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, in 1952. He went on to work as a researcher at Kobe Kogyo Corporation (now Fujitsu), Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo, Nagoya University, and Meijo University, achieving outstanding results in the fields of semiconductor crystal growth and photoelectronic device development. Of particular note is the work he did with gallium nitride (GaN), whose physical properties had long been considered impossible to control; he succeeded in growing high-quality epitaxial GaN films and controlling the conductivity of p- and n-type GaN, which led to the world's first GaN p-n junction blue/ultra-violet LED. He is also known for his contributions to the training of researchers in related fields, including compound semiconductor crystal growth, fundamental properties, and photoelectronic devices.
Dr Akasaki's work finally enabled production of blue light, which, as one of the three primary light colors, forms the basis of full-color display technology. In addition, the white LED, which is made by coating a blue LED with a phosphor material, is highly valued as an eco-friendly light source.
For these contributions, he was awarded the Person of Cultural Merit accolade in 2004 and the Order of Culture in 2011, before receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 and the Honorary Degree of Doctor from Kyoto University in 2015.
- NEWS: Kyoto University alumnus Isamu Akasaki jointly receives the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 (7 October 2014)
- NEWS: KU alumnus Isamu Akasaki attends the 2014 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony (11 December 2014)
- NEWS: KU alumnus and Nobel laureate Isamu Akasaki receives honorary doctorate, delivers commemorative lecture (15 May 2015)
- Japanese Nobel Laureates
- Dr Akasaki's lecture delivered on 15 May 2015 (KYOTO-U OpenCourseWare, in Japanese)