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Japanese Nobel laureate Isamu Akasaki, inventor of blue LED, dies at 92

Japanese physicist Isamu Akasaki shows his Nobel medal on Dec. 12, 2014, at Tokyo's Haneda airport, after his return from the award ceremony in Stockholm. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese physicist Isamu Akasaki, a co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics for inventing the world's first efficient blue light-emitting diodes, has died, Meijo University said Friday. He was 92.

    Akasaki, a professor at the university, had been recognized for the invention which has contributed to bright and energy-saving white light sources, widely known as LED lamps.

    He died of a pneumonia Thursday morning at a hospital in the central Japan city of Nagoya, the university said.

    Akasaki, born in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan's southwest, graduated from Kyoto University in 1952 before working at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., now Panasonic Corp. He started working at Nagoya University as a professor in 1981 and was later given an honorary title.

    In 2014, he shared the Nobel Prize with Japanese physicist Hiroshi Amano, professor at the university, and Japanese-born American Shuji Nakamura, professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Akasaki, when he was a professor at Nagoya University, worked with Amano to produce gallium nitride crystals, and succeeded in 1989 in creating the world's first blue LED.

    Akasaki was honored in 1997 by the Japanese government with the Medal with Purple Ribbon, an honor bestowed on those who have made contributions to academic and artistic developments.

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