Shuji Nakamura Projects Laser Diodes to Replace LEDs in the Near Future

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Nobel laureate Shuji Nakamura, who was awarded the prestigious science award last year for his blue LED invention, believes laser diodes will eventually become the next mainstream light source, according to a report.

The technology which is already incorporated in certain car headlights (such as in certain BMW models), is expected to eventually replace LEDs to become the next generation light source, also the increasing availability and power of wireless communications networks based on light, Nakamura told a press conference Friday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

 “There is a limitation to LEDs,” said Nakamura, a materials science professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “By increasing the input power, LEDs become very bright. But the problem is that with the increase of power, the efficiency gradually decreases.”

In contrast, the input power for laser diodes can be increased infinitely with very high efficiency, he said. ““In the near future, all lighting will be from laser-based lighting.”

Other applications for laser diodes include intelligent lighting applications, such as smartphone-controlled projectors that can display imagery or data on walls or floors nearby.

Laser diodes could also boost Li-Fi wireless communications, and speed up transmission rates to 3.5 Gbps or more.

 “The modulation speed of laser lighting is much faster than LED lighting, almost 1,000 times faster, so the Internet speed would become much, much faster,” projected Nakamura. 

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