The 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering was awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Shuji Nakamura, Nick Holonyak Jr, M. George Craford and Russell Dupuis for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid state lighting technology.
Solid state lighting technology has changed how we illuminate our world. It can be found everywhere from digital displays and computer screens to handheld laser pointers, automobile headlights and traffic lights. Today’s high-performance LEDs are used in efficient solid state lighting products across the world and are contributing to the sustainable development of world economies by reducing energy consumption.
Visible LEDs are now a global industry predicted to be worth over $108 billion by 2025 through low cost, high efficiency lighting. LED lighting is 75% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, and is playing a crucial role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. LED bulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and their large-scale use reduces the energy demand required to cool buildings. For this, they are often referred to as the ‘green revolution’ within lighting.