Shuji Nakamura

Professor Materials Department

Research Director Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center

Professor 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

High efficiency, high power LEDs for lighting
InGaN injection lasers for displays
AIGaN/GaN transistors for power switching


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