You see it in products you use everyday. LED technology that lights up everything from your computer screen to the latest smartphones.

About 20 years ago, Isamu Akashi, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura created the first blue light-emitting diodes. This creation would go on to have a massive impact in the development of LED technology.

“The invention of the blue LED is just twenty years old, but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all,” a press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences reads.

The three succeeded where many failed for decades. Creating the tiny blue light was imperative for producing white light from LEDs. Today, the incandescent light bulb is being replaced by LED bulbs.

The power of LED light isn’t just limited to powering the screen on your smartphone. Its low power requirements means a “LED lamp holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids.”

Besides winning the Nobel Physics prize, the three physicists also share $1.1 million (8 million kronor) in prize money. See? Even physicists get paid every now and then.

The three had to create just the right mix of crystals and chemicals for a semiconductor to emit blue light when electricity passed through it. Check out the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 report to learn more about the challenges the three overcame to create blue LEDs.

You can watch the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics in the video below. Other awards coming this week include chemistry tomorrow, literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The economics prize will be announced next Monday. You can keep up with all the announcements and watch them live at the Nobel Prize YouTube Channel.

Follow News Ledge

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you make a purchase using one of the affiliated links.