Nobel Prize Winner Returns To Fremont To Thank His Team

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) — The Bay Area man who won the Nobel Prize for Physics returned to his team in Fremont-based Soraa on Wednesday to thank them for their hard work. Soraa is working on its third-generation of LED products and putting its founder’s discovery into your home.

Shuji Nakamura is co-founder of Fremont-based Soraa Incorporated and winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics.

“I think the world thanks you for giving us a more efficient light solution,” Soraa co-founder Steven Denbaars said.

Denbaars shared an intimate story about meeting the Japanese-born scientist and Nobel Prize winner more than 20 years ago. Their shared ideas over theoretical academic research would later give birth to Soraa.

“This is the new technology, is GaN on GaN, that we’ve perfected at Soraa, the engineers here at Soraa and Jeff have really worked hard it’s really revolutionary, the next generation of LED technology,” Denbaars said to the crowd gathered at the company.

It works like this: this blue LED allows white light to be created in a way that is energy-efficient and still soft enough in tone, to be pleasing to the eye. Nakamura says the LED bulbs are helping reduce energy use and are lowering the cost of lighting worldwide. They also contain no mercury.

Nakamura laughed about the 2 a.m. call from the committee. He said, “They called on my cellphone. Yeah, I don’t know how they could find my cellphone number. I don’t know.”

For more than 30 years scientists have been trying to create the blue diode used in Nakamura’s LED. His work is considered to be transformational. Nakamura says he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get back in the lab.

“Basically, no change. I have received many kinds of awards. This is the highest award, but basically no change for my work,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura will split a prize of $1.1 million with the other Nobel Award winners for physics.