Shuji Nakamura Bio

Faculty & Staff PhotosProfessor Nakamura may have single-handedly changed the technological face of the world. His discovery of p-type doping in Gallium Nitride (GaN) and development of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs) and blue laser diodes (LDs) has enabled energy efficient, solid-state lighting used in displays, medicine, and the next generation of Blu-Ray optical storage. Now, Dr. Nakamura’s inventions are poised to replace Thomas Edison’s light bulb and save the world billions of dollars in energy costs.

Professor Nakamura was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” He has also received numerous other awards for his work. He was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2003. Prof. Nakamura received the 2014 Order of Culture Award in Japan. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015. He received the 2015 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering and the 2015 Global Energy Prize in Russia.

Since 2000, he has been a professor of Materials and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds more than 200 US patents and over 300 Japanese patents. He has published more than 550 papers in his field. Professor Nakamura is the Research Director of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center and the Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting & Displays. He co-founded Soraa, Inc. in 2008, which operates vertically integrated fabrication facilities in California’s Silicon Valley and Santa Barbara.

Research Areas: Blue LEDs, green LEDs, white LEDs, blue laser diodes, GaN on GaN LEDs

Available Technologies Developed by Professor Nakamura:


  • 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • 2013 LED Pioneer Awards
  • 2013 LUX Awards: LUX person fo the Year in association with One-LUX”
  • 2013 Awards of Outstanding Achievement for Global SSL Development by ISA
  • 2012 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award
  • 2012 Inventor of the Year Award by Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association
  • 2009 Harvey Prize by Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
  • 2008 Japanese Science of Applied Physics (JSAP) Outstanding Paper Award for “Demonstration of Nonpolar m-Plane InGaN/GaN Laser Diode”
  • 2008 The Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (The Prince of Asturias Foundation, Spain)
  • 2007 Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Innovator of the Year Award
  • 2007 Czochralski Award
  • 2006 Global Innovation Leader Award, Optical Media Global Industry Awards
  • 2006 Millennium Technology Prize, Finland
  • 2004 The Society for Information Display Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize
  • 2003 CompoundSemi Pioneer Award
  • 2003 National Academy of Engineering Member
  • 2003 Blue Spectrum Pioneer Awards
  • 2002 IEEE/LEOS Quantum Electronics Award
  • 2002 Recipient of the Franklin Medall in Engineering
  • 2002 Takeda Award
  • 2002 The Economist Innovation Award 2002 “No Boundaries”
  • 2002 World Technology Award
  • 2001 Asahi Award
  • 2001 Cree Professor in Solid State Lighting and Display Endowed Chair
  • 2001 OSA Nick Holonyak Award
  • 2001 LEOS Distinguished Lecturer Award
  • 2000 Takayanagi Award
  • 2000 Carl Zeiss Research Award
  • 2000 Crystal Growth and Crystal Technology Award
  • 1999 Julius-Springer Prize for Applied Physics
  • 1998 Innovation in Real Materials (IRM) Award
  • 1998 C&C Award
  • 1998 IEEE Jack A. Morton Award
  • 1998 British Rank Prize
  • 1997 Best Paper Award of Japanese Applied Physics Society
  • 1997 Okochi Memorial Award
  • 1997 Materials Research Society (MRS) Medal Award
  • 1996 Nikkei BP Engineering Award
  • 1996 Nishina Memorial Award
  • 1996 IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society Engineering Achievement Award
  • 1996 Society for Information Display (SID) Special Recognition Award
  • 1995 Sakurai Award
  • 1994 Best Paper Award of Japanese Applied Physics Society
  • 1994 Nikkei BP Engineering Award

For more information on Professor Nakamura’s accomplishments and research click here