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  • Smartphones, TVs, computers, iPads, and many other modern miracles are made possible by power-efficient LED screens.

    智慧型手機、電視、電腦、iPads 以及其他許多現代奇蹟,都是多虧於節能省電的 LED 螢幕才有可能存在。

  • But the real impact goes well beyond our brightly-lit gadgets.


  • Lighting accounts for 20-30% of global electricity consumption and about 6% of greenhouse gas emissions.

    照明用電約佔全球耗電量的 20 至 30%,以及大約 6% 的溫室氣體排放。

  • Given that LED bulbs use around 80% less energy, and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, they have the greatest potential impact on energy savings globally.

    相較於白熾燈,LED 燈泡能夠節省約 80% 的用電且耐用 25 倍,在全球節能方面有最大的潛力。

  • But when the first LEDs were introduced in the 1960s, they didn't have much use.

    但 LED 最早在 1960 年代問世時,並沒有太大的用途。

  • It wasn't until the '90s, when Japanese scientists discovered the missing link needed to complete the color spectrum: the blue LED.

    是到了 90 年代,當日本科學家發現了光譜消失的一環:藍光 LED,才改變了 LED 的命運。

  • Here's how the color blue changed lighting.


  • After Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879, incandescent lights lit much of the 20th century.

    湯瑪士.愛迪生在 1879 年發明電燈泡以後,20 世紀基本上都是靠白熾燈點亮。

  • The problem is they waste a lot of energy, lost in the form of heat, and they don't last long.


  • Fluorescent lights started being used in the 1930s.

    1930 年代開始使用日光燈管。

  • Although much more efficient than incandescent, they're not an ideal replacement.


  • They contain toxic mercury, age significantly if they're frequently switched on and off, and are prone to flicker.


  • There needed to be a better solution.


  • In 1961, Gary Pittman and James R. Biard of Texas Instruments accidentally invented the first practical light emitting diode while trying to make a laser diode.

    在 1961 年,德州儀器的蓋瑞.皮曼和詹姆斯.比爾德在試圖創造雷射二極管時,意外發明了第一個發光二極管。

  • The first LEDs emitted infrared light, invisible to the human eye which later became useful in things like remote controls.

    第一個 LED 發射人類肉眼看不見的紅外線,後來被應用在遙控器。

  • And for the next three decades, advances were made to include red and green, but they couldn't quite get to blue - which was needed to make white light.

    在接下來三十年,有了紅色和綠色 LED 的進展,但卻無法進展到藍光 LED,這也是製造白光所需要的。

  • But the appeal was obvious: unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, LEDs don't have a filament that will burn out, they don't get hot, and they require a lot less energy.

    但已經足夠吸引人了。和白熾光不同的是,LED 並沒有會燒掉的燈絲,也不會發熱,且不太耗能。

  • So the biggest electronics companies raced to create a powerful blue LED.

    所以各大電子企業相互較量,要製造出強大的藍光 LED。

  • But the problem of the missing color plagued them for nearly 30 years.

    但這個缺少的顏色苦惱了他們近 30 年。

  • The key ingredient, a chemical compound called gallium nitride proved difficult to grow in a lab.

    關鍵材料 —— 叫做「鎵」的化學混合物,很難在實驗室生成。

  • Scientists tried and failed, ultimately turning their attention to other "more promising" semiconductor materials for creating blue light.


  • But a number of favorable circumstances led a scientist from a small chemical company in Japan called Nichia to finally make the discovery.


  • Firstly, by virtue of having little to no budget, scientist Shuji Nakamura was forced to create red and infrared LEDs from scratch, using parts he scavenged and fixed by hand.

    首先,由於只有微薄的預算,科學家中村修二被迫撿拾零件、自行修理,從頭開始製造紅光和紅外線 LED。

  • Most companies in the '80s were creating LED material using commercially available equipment.

    在 80 年代,大多數公司都是用市面上現成的設備及材料製造 LED。

  • This experience, which took him around 10 years and featured monthly explosions in the lab, would later prove invaluable when doing trials for blue LEDs.

    這一過程花了他近十年,以及在實驗室裡數月的研究,最後在試著製造藍光 LED 時才得知一切努力都值得。

  • The second reason was his decision to use gallium nitride, a material considered a "dead end" by other scientists.


  • But his motivation for using the chemical compound was personal: getting his Ph.D.


  • According to Nakamura, writing papers on less promising candidates for blue light would make it much easier for him to get the necessary papers published for his degree.


  • Again he went back to the lab, not taking holidays and not varying his daily routine.


  • But this time was different.


  • He convinced Nichia to buy the equipment for manufacturing LED material.

    他說服日亞購買製造 LED 用料的設備。

  • Instead of starting from scratch, he made small modifications to the commercially available equipment -- his extensive experience building red and infrared LEDs aided the alterations.

    這次不再是從頭開始,他對市售材料做點小改良 —— 從前製造紅光和紅外線 LED 的廣泛研究都有助於改良。

  • Just over a year later, Nakamura made his first successful growth of gallium nitride.


  • His method, called "two-flow MOCVD", is still used to this day.

    他的方法 ——「two-flow 雙流式有機金屬化學氣相沉積」,到了今日仍舊被使用。

  • From this, and discoveries of other Japanese scientists around that time, he was able to produce the first brightly shining blue LED.

    透過這個方法及當代其他日本科學家的發現,他成功製作出第一顆閃亮的藍光 LED。

  • Nichia is still a leader in the LED industry, used by Apple and other electronics manufacturers.

    在今日,日亞仍是 LED 產業的領導者,Apple 和其他電子廠都採用他們的產品。

  • In 2014 Shuji Nakamura was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his invention, along with two other Japanese scientists who developed high-quality gallium nitride materials prior to Nakamura's breakthrough.

    在 2014 年,中村修二及另外兩位在他之前製造出高品質氮化鎵材料的日本科學家,獲得諾貝爾物理獎的肯定。

  • The small, energy-efficient, and extremely bright LEDs started a light revolution and are now used in almost every piece of electronics.

    小巧、節能且極度光亮的 LED 開啟了照明革命,並且在今日被廣泛運用於幾乎每一種電子設備。

  • Without it, much of what we use today wouldn't be possible.


  • It also has life-changing implications in the developing world: With LEDs, solar panels and small batteries are more than enough to power the homes of the 1.2 billion people who lack access to electricity.

    它在發展中國家也有改變人們生活的影響力:有了 LED、太陽能板及小型電池,缺乏電力的 12 億人將有可能點亮他們的家。

  • Most of those people are still burning wood or gas for light which is not only inefficient, it causes pollution.


  • It's estimated that switching all lighting to LEDs would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by about the same amount as that produced by three-quarters of the cars in the U.S.

    據估計,要是將所有的燈都換成 LED,年碳排放量將減少相當於美國三分之二的汽車排放。

  • That's a potentially bigger impact than wind or solar power.


  • And with global warming due to human activity generating catastrophic effects on the planet, the desire for saving energy is bigger than ever.


Smartphones, TVs, computers, iPads, and many other modern miracles are made possible by power-efficient LED screens.

智慧型手機、電視、電腦、iPads 以及其他許多現代奇蹟,都是多虧於節能省電的 LED 螢幕才有可能存在。


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藍色LED如何改變世界 (How Blue LEDs Changed the World)

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    April Lu 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日