Professor Isamu Akasaki


Isamu Akasaki was born in Chiran, Japan, on 30 January 1929. He graduated in electrical engineering at the University of Kyoto in 1952. After working for the electronics company Kobe Kogyo Corporation (now Fujitsu), he returned to academia and received a doctorate in electronic engineering from Nagoya University in 1964. He then joined the Matsuhita Research Institute Tokyo, and entered academia once more, becoming a professor at Nagoya University in 1981, whose Akasaki Institute was founded in 2006 using royalities from his patents. He joined Meijo University in 1992.

His innovations between 1986-89 were the foundations of almost all subsequent research in this area as well as for commercial development. Akasaki upgraded the MOCVD technology by developing its use with sapphire substrates to produce group III nitride (III-N) VLEDs and also demonstrated - with Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, the first p-type gallium nitride, which created efficient blue LEDs for the first time. This advance formed the basis of high brightness and efficient green and white VLEDs.

LED stock image

The 2021 QEPrize is awarded to the creators of LED lighting

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Shuji Nakamura, Nick Holonyak Jr, M. George Craford and Russell Dupuis for their work on LED lighting.