Member of Lighting Solutions Group
Role in Affiliated Centers
Co-Director of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Center; Member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors and the Center for Energy Efficient Materials
Shuji Nakamura's research includes MOCVD (metal-organic chemical vapor deposition), UVPE (ultraviolet photoelectrons), and growth and device fabrication of light-emitters based on the wide bandgap semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN). Nakamura’s work has launched a new sector in light-producing semiconductor research and made possible the wide-scale industrial production of efficient, energy-saving LEDs. Specifically, the discovery of p-type doping in Gallium Nitride (GaN) and the development of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs) and blue laser diodes (LDs) has enabled energy efficient lighting and displays. Nakamura’s invention of ultraviolet LEDs also improves the sterilization of drinking water with the use of ultraviolet LEDs, making the water purification process both cheaper and more efficient.
Shuji Nakamura obtained B.E. (1977), M.S. (1979), and Ph.D. (1994) degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tokushima, Japan. He joined Nichia Chemical Industries in 1979 and worked there until 1999 when he joined UC Santa Barbara as Professor of Materials. While at Nichia Chemical, he started research on blue LEDs using group-III nitride materials. In 1993 and 1995, he developed the first group-III nitride-based blue/green LEDs. He also developed the first group-III nitride-based violet laser diodes (LDs) in 1995.
Nakamura has received a number of awards in honor of his work, including: the Nishina Memorial Award (1996), MRS Medal Award (1997), IEEE Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize (1998), the Benjamin Franklin Medal Award (2002), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), and most recently The Harvey Award (2009). He was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2003. Nakamura holds more than 100 patents and has published more than 400 papers in his field.