LED lights have extremely long lives and consume far less energy than normal incandescent lamps. In industrialised countries, the opportunities for energy-saving LED lights are significant.
One of the most significant future applications for Nakamura’s invention is the sterilisation of drinking water, since the use of ultraviolet LEDs makes the water purification process both cheaper and more efficient. Systems based on this technology are expected to improve the lives and health of tens of millions of people.
Data storage and transfer using light generated by blue lasers brings significant benefits, for example, the amount of data stored on CDs or DVDs can be increased by some five times compared to current techniques.
Nakamura was born in Japan in 1954. He has worked in the USA at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 2000, and his research work into new sources of light continues.
The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland’s recognition for innovators that aim to improve quality of life. The €1m prize has been established to steer the course of technological development to a more humane direction – bring technology closer to people. The technology prize is the biggest of its kind in the world and it is awarded every second year.
Metso sponsors the Millennium Technology Prize. High-level scientific research is favoured in Metso’s sponsoring principles and through this prize, the company has an opportunity to promote top researchers that are close to its own fields of technology.
The winner or winners of the Millennium Technology Prize are decided by an International Selection Committee. Candidates are sought from around the world, representing the following four fields: communications and information, energy and environment, health care and life sciences and new materials and processes.
The first-ever Millennium Technology Prize in 2004 was awarded to Tim Berners-Lee for the invention of the World Wide Web.