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|Founded||Anan, Japan (December 1956 )|
|Headquarters||Anan, Tokushima 774-8601, Japan|
Number of employees
|8,600 (as of April, 2015)|
Nichia Corporation (日亜化学工業株式会社, Nichia Kagaku Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese chemical engineering and manufacturing company headquartered in Anan, Japan with global subsidiaries. It specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of phosphors, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs), laser diodes, battery materials, and calcium chloride.
The Nichia Corporation comprises two divisions — Division 1, responsible for phosphors and other chemicals, and Division 2, responsible for LEDs. In the field of phosphors the company has 50% of the Japanese market and 25% of the world market.
Nichia is the world’s largest supplier of LEDs. It designs, manufactures, and markets LEDs for display, LCD backlighting, automotive and general lighting applications with the many different leds across the entire visible spectrum. Nichia’s invention and development of white LEDs have spanned several accomplishments throughout the history of the company.
The Nichia Corporation was founded in 1956 by Nobuo Ogawa (小川 信雄, 1912-2002) at Aratano-cho, Anan, Tokushima to produce calcium phosphate for fluorescent lamp phosphors. The majority ownership is still held by the Ogawa family today.
In 1966, Nichia began production of phosphors for fluorescent lamps. In 1971, Nichia began production of phosphors for color TVs. In 1977, Nichia began the production of tri-color phosphors for fluorescent lamps.
One of Nobuo Ogawa's more well-known decisions was to support Shuji Nakamura to do research on gallium nitride light-emitting diodes, when it was generally considered a very risky business.The research turned out to be a great success; however, the company received scrutiny for the small size of the ¥20,000 (US$180) bonus initially awarded to Nakamura for his 1993 invention of the first high brightness blue-light LED, which was based on gallium nitride. Nichia later settled out of court with Nakamura for ¥840 million (US$7 million), in what was then the highest bonus ever awarded by a Japanese company.
Nichia supports financially a Polish company Ammono, which is the current (as of 2011) world leader in bulk Gallium Nitride (GaN) manufacturing of 2-inch diameter high quality bulk c-plane GaN substrates as well as non-polar M-plane, A-plane and semi-polar GaN wafer.Nichia funds a joint research project with Ammono to develop ammonothermal gallium nitride growth, and in return Nichia took a stake in Ammono’s intellectual property, as well as access to the crystals that were made.
Several of Nichia's innovations have won awards, such as the Nikkei Best Products Award.
Nichia Corporation's competitors include Seoul Semiconductor, Cree, Everlight Electronics, Lumileds, Epistar and Osram.
In January 2006, Nichia launched a lawsuit against rival LED manufacturer Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd., alleging design patent infringement.Nichia and Seoul Semiconductor announced that they have settled all litigation on patent and other issues as well as other legal disputes currently pending between them in the United States, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and Korea. The settlement includes a cross license agreement covering LED and laser diode technologies, which will permit the companies to access all of each other's patented technologies. In accordance with the settlement terms, all litigations are to be terminated by mutual withdrawal, with the exception of litigation in Germany involving patent DE 691-07-630 T2 of EP 0-437-385 B1, which was resolved following a February 2009 hearing.
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that emits light when current flows through it. Electrons in the semiconductor recombine with electron holes, releasing energy in the form of photons. The color of the light is determined by the energy required for electrons to cross the band gap of the semiconductor. White light is obtained by using multiple semiconductors or a layer of light-emitting phosphor on the semiconductor device.
Artificial lighting technology began to be developed tens of thousands of years ago and continues to be refined in the present day.
Electroluminescence (EL) is an optical phenomenon and electrical phenomenon in which a material emits light in response to the passage of an electric current or to a strong electric field. This is distinct from black body light emission resulting from heat (incandescence), a chemical reaction (chemiluminescence), sound (sonoluminescence), or other mechanical action (mechanoluminescence).
A phosphor is a substance that exhibits the phenomenon of luminescence; it emits light when exposed to some type of radiant energy. The term is used both for fluorescent or phosphorescent substances which glow on exposure to ultraviolet or visible light, and cathodoluminescent substances which glow when struck by an electron beam in a cathode ray tube.
A laser diode, (LD), injection laser diode (ILD), or diode laser is a semiconductor device similar to a light-emitting diode in which a diode pumped directly with electrical current can create lasing conditions at the diode's junction. Laser diodes can directly convert electrical energy into light. Driven by voltage, the doped p-n-transition allows for recombination of an electron with a hole. Due to the drop of the electron from a higher energy level to a lower one, radiation, in the form of an emitted photon is generated. This is spontaneous emission. Stimulated emission can be produced when the process is continued and further generate light with the same phase, coherence and wavelength.
Nick Holonyak Jr. is an American engineer and educator. He is noted particularly for his 1962 invention of a light-emitting diode (LED) that emitted visible red light instead of infrared light; Holonyak demonstrated the LED on October 9, 1962 while working at General Electric's research laboratory in Syracuse, New York. He is a John Bardeen Endowed Chair Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been since leaving General Electric in 1963.
Gallium nitride (GaN) is a binary III/V direct bandgap semiconductor commonly used in blue light-emitting diodes since the 1990s. The compound is a very hard material that has a Wurtzite crystal structure. Its wide band gap of 3.4 eV affords it special properties for applications in optoelectronic, high-power and high-frequency devices. For example, GaN is the substrate which makes violet (405 nm) laser diodes possible, without requiring nonlinear optical frequency-doubling.
Shuji Nakamura is a Japanese-born American electronic engineer and prolific inventor specializing in the field of semiconductor technology, professor at the Materials Department of the College of Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and is regarded as the inventor of the blue LED, a major breakthrough in lighting technology. Together with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, he is one of the three recipients of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources". In 2015, his input into commercialization and development of energy-efficient white LED lighting technology was recognized by the Global Energy Prize. In 2021, Nakamura, along with Akasaki, Nick Holonyak, M. George Craford and Russell D. Dupuis were awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering "for the creation and development of LED lighting, which forms the basis of all solid state lighting technology".
A germicidal lamp is an electric light that produces ultraviolet C (UVC) light. This short-wave ultraviolet light disrupts DNA base pairing, causing formation of pyrimidine dimers, and leads to the inactivation of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It can also be used to produce ozone for water disinfection. They are used in ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
A blue laser is a laser that emits electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 360 and 480 nanometers, which the human eye sees as blue or violet.
Aluminium gallium indium phosphide is a semiconductor material that provides a platform for the development of novel multi-junction photovoltaics and optoelectronic devices, as it spans a direct bandgap from deep ultraviolet to infrared.
Aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN) is a semiconductor material. It is any alloy of aluminium nitride and gallium nitride.
Isamu Akasaki was a Japanese engineer and physicist, specializing in the field of semiconductor technology and Nobel Prize laureate, best known for inventing the bright gallium nitride (GaN) p-n junction blue LED in 1989 and subsequently the high-brightness GaN blue LED as well.
Dmitri Z. Garbuzov was one of the pioneers and inventors of room temperature continuous-wave-operating diode lasers and high-power diode lasers.
An LED lamp or LED light bulb is an electric light that produces light using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED lamps are significantly more energy-efficient than equivalent incandescent lamps and can be significantly more efficient than most fluorescent lamps, The most efficient commercially available LED lamps have efficiencies of 200 lumens per watt (Lm/W). Commercial LED lamps have a lifespan many times longer than incandescent lamps.
Hiroshi Amano is a Japanese physicist, engineer and inventor specializing in the field of semiconductor technology. For his work he was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Isamu Akasaki and Shuji Nakamura for "the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources".
The NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science is awarded by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences "for original scientific work of intrinsic scientific importance and with significant, beneficial applications in industry."
microLED, also known as micro-LED, mLED or µLED, is an emerging flat-panel display technology. microLED displays consist of arrays of microscopic LEDs forming the individual pixel elements. When compared with widespread LCD technology, microLED displays offer better contrast, response times, and energy efficiency.
In light-emitting diode physics, the recombination of electrons and electron holes in a semiconductor produce light, a process called "electroluminescence". The wavelength of the light produced depends on the energy band gap of the semiconductors used. Since these materials have a high index of refraction, design features of the devices such as special optical coatings and die shape are required to efficiently emit light. An LED is a long-lived light source, but certain mechanisms can cause slow loss of efficiency of the device or sudden failure. The wavelength of the light emitted is a function of the band gap of the semiconductor material used; materials such as gallium arsenide, and others, with various trace doping elements, are used to produce different colors of light. Another type of LED uses a quantum dot which can have its properties and wavelength adjusted by its size. Light-emitting diodes are widely used in indicator and display functions, and white LEDs are displacing other technologies for general illumination purposes.