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30th Anniversary of the High Brightness Blue LED

17 April 2023

30th Anniversary of the High Brightness Blue LED

"Blue LED, 100 times brighter"
On November 30, 1993, Nikkei Business Daily headlined the front page of its popular newspaper in Japan – "Blue LED, 100 times brighter." The company that launched such a surprising product is "Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd." (Currently, Nichia Corporation), located in Tokushima, Japan.

At the time, Nichia was positioned as Japan's largest manufacturer of phosphors, primarily used in fluorescent lamps and CRT televisions. Although Nichia was well-known in the industry, the general public was not familiar with the company. In the world of LEDs at the time, where red, orange, yellowish green, and invisible infrared light were the most available colors, Nichia was only known as a company who manufactures and sells some of the materials. Therefore, Nichia's announcement of the high brightness blue LED was a great surprise. A company not deeply involved with LEDs was the one to succeed in developing the world's first high brightness blue LED, once believed to be impossible to achieve within the 20th century and also has started the volume production / sales.

Fast forward to 2023, Nichia marks its 30th anniversary since the launch of the high brightness blue LED. High brightness blue LEDs are still used today in a wide variety of applications. In fact, this technology continues to contribute to Nichia's development of derivative technologies. Pure Green LEDs were developed with this blue LED technology and White LEDs were realized in combination with phosphors which Nichia continues to cultivate, develop and advance in a manner no other company can imitate.

In addition, Nichia's innovation has expanded applications from light sources for large video displays, traffic signals, and color scanners to light sources for automobile interiors and exteriors, backlight light sources for color LCDs, and light sources for general lighting.

Examples of the blue LED technology advancement include mini LEDs for LCD backlights, which provide high-contrast images that cannot be achieved with ordinary white LEDs, or matrix-type high and low-beam headlights, which provide a safer driving environment without causing discomfort to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

As Nichia celebrates the 30th anniversary of the launch of high brightness blue LED, Nichia would like to reminisce and share the history with stories from that time. Nichia will post monthly articles through November, the month the first newspaper announcements were made in 1993.

LED sign board and samples created by using developed LEDs at the time