In October the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to three scientists responsible for inventing a new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source, which created modern LED light bulbs. Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura created a blue light-emitting diode (LED), which allows manufacturers to produce white-light lamps.
Funny how this electronics project, which has now paved the way for energy-efficient lighting, was originally only a hobby for Shuji Nakamura that he pursued in his own spare time.
Traditional light bulbs waste large amounts of energy through lost heat. Whilst fluorescent lamps are better they still don’t come anywhere close to the efficiency of white LEDs.
The invention, which combines red and green LEDs to generate white light, can be used in all lighting sources from homes to the advertising screens in Piccadilly Circus. What’s more, it’s so efficient that if the UK were to switch to LED lighting we could save 10% of our total electricity bill. Makes you think doesn’t it? To make an even bigger statement – a quarter of the world’s electricity is used for lighting – so what’s stopping us?
photo credit: jurvetson