AMANO, Hiroshi

Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics

Professor, Nagoya University (Japan)

Professor Hiroshi Amano, Doctor of Engineering received his BE, ME and DE degree in 1983, 1985 and 1989, respectively, from Nagoya University. From 1988 to 1992, he was a research associate at Nagoya University. In 1992, he moved to Meijo University, where he was an assistant professor, associate professor from 1998 till 2002, and professor from 2002 till 2010. He moved to Nagoya University, where he was a professor of Graduate School of Engineering from 2011 till 2015. On Oct. 1, 2015, he became a director of Center for Integrated Research of Future Electronics, Institute of Materials and Systems for Sustainability, Nagoya University. He has also been the director of the Akasaki Research Center (Akasaki Institute), Nagoya University since 2011.

During his doctoral program at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Engineering, he was able to realize high-quality epitaxially grown GaN film with metal-organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE), p-type GaN filmdoped with Mg while conducting research with Professor Akasaki.For the first time in history, he established the technology necessary for the production of blue LEDs, thus performing a great achievement the development of the high-luminosity blue LED. 

He is currently developing technologies for the fabrication of high-efficiency power semiconductor development and new energy-saving devices at Nagoya University. 

He has over 500 publications, and 30 patents. Prof. Amano shared the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 with Prof. Isamu Akasaki and Prof. Shuji Nakamura "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources".


09:30-11:00 6 NOVEMBER
PLENARY SESSION IV. Science in the innovation ecosystem

We can save about 7% of the total electricity consumption by replacing three quarters of general lighting system to LED lamps. Compared to incandescent lamp or fluorescent lamp, high temperature or vacuum are not necessary. Therefore, LEDs are thought to be one of the ultimate light source.

GaAs-/ and GaP-based red and green LEDs were commercialized in 1962 and 1974, respectively. So, at that time, many researchers imagined that the commercialization of GaN-based blue LEDs would be achieved in the 1980’s. The world’s top electrical companies tried to commercialize blue LEDs in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, all the attempts to commercialize GaN-based blue LEDs failed. As a result, most researchers abandoned research on GaN and investigated other materials such as II-VI’s ZnSe. However, Dr. Akasaki could not give up his research on GaN and moved to academia, starting work at Nagoya University in 1981, to continue research on GaN. I joined his group one year later in 1982 as an undergraduate student.

After encountering many difficulties over almost three years, in 1985, we finally succeeded in overcoming the problems preventing the use of GaN in blue LEDs. In 1987, the government organization, Japan Science and Technology Agency, known as JST, decided to support collaboration between academia and industry, including between Nagoya University and Toyoda Gosei. After 8 years of collaboration, Toyoda Gosei finally succeeded in commercializing blue LEDs in 1995.

From this example, I would like to extract the reasons why innovation was achieved. First, achievements in fundamental research are essential. At Nagoya University, student succeeded in growing the world’s highest-quality GaN thanks to the long-standing efforts of Professor Akasaki and plenty of trial and error of young student trying to grow GaN. Second, in industry, there should be a people who are eager to commercialize products based on fundamental research achievements. Third, financial support from the government should be available to accelerate the development. In the support team at JST, there was an important person who can understand the significance of fundamental research achievements in academia. Such supports are essential to accelerate the collaboration between academia and industry.