This year’s winners of the Society for Information Display’s Honors and Awards include Dr. Isamu Akasaki, who will receive the Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize for his seminal contributions to the development of high-quality single-crystal GaN-based semiconductors and their PN-junction blue LEDs and lasers; Dr. Marc Baldo, who will receive the Jan Rajchman Prize for his outstanding contributions to the discovery of phosphorescent-OLED devices; Dr. Hoi-Sing Kwok, who will be awarded the Slottow-Owaki Prize for providing education and training in display technology to many students and professionals in the Asia region through the creation of a display research center; and Dr. Shigeo Mikoshiba, who will receive the Lewis & Beatrice Winner Award for his sustained exceptional contributions to SID for over 30 years.

by Jenny Donelan

THE RECIPIENTS of the Society for Information Display’s 2013 Honors and Awards may be diverse in terms of the display technologies they pursue – GaN-based semiconductors, phosphorescent OLEDs, LCDs, PDPs – and in geographical location – Japan, Massachusetts, Hong Kong – but they have at least two things in common: vision and a clear sense of purpose.  As a young researcher in Tokyo, Isamu Akasaki became intrigued by gallium nitride’s potential for blue-light emitters, despite the fact that the technology was considered yesterday’s news by many scientists — another promising piece of research that had not worked out.  Akasaki saw something more in the material – specifically, he saw tiny, well-formed crystallites – but he also saw that it might someday contribute to display systems in a major way.  After years of hard work, he, and the rest of the world, discovered he was right.

Another young researcher, Marc Baldo, then a graduate student at Princeton, fell under a spell after he built his first OLED in the lab. The deep red color of the OLED he made both surprised and entranced him.  He continued to focus on OLEDs and went on to contribute to the development of the first phosphorescent OLEDs.

Slottow–Owaki Prize recipient Hoi-Sing Kwok and Lewis & Beatrice Winner Award recipient Shigeo Mikoshiba are both highly respected scientists, but their awards from SID this year reflect their vision for education and community-based efforts.  Kwok saw the need for a display-based research center in Hong Kong and went on to create it, which included raising the all-important funds.  Mikoshiba, a busy educator and researcher, recognized the importance of volunteering his time to the display industry, and devoted many efforts to the furthering of SID.  His vision and continued sense of purpose – he has volunteered continuously for more than 30 years — raised up not only SID, but the industry as a whole.  Besides, as he told Information Display, such efforts are ultimately as enriching to the volunteer as to those he helps.

The SID Board of Directors, based on recommendations made by the Honors & Awards Committee, grants these annual awards based upon outstanding achievements and significant contributions to the display industry.  This year’s winners should take pride in this acknowledgment of their tremendous accomplishments.

The 2013 award winners will be honored at the SID Honors & Awards Banquet, which will take place Monday evening, May 20, 2013, during Display Week at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Tickets cost $75 and must be purchased in advance – tickets will not be available on-site.
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Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize

This award is presented for an outstanding technical achievement in, or contribution to, display technology.

Dr. Isamu Akasaki, Professor at Meijo University, will receive the Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize “for his seminal contributions to the development of high-quality single-crystal GaN-based semiconductors and their PN-junction blue LEDs and lasers.”

In 1969, researchers succeeded in growing single-crystal gallium nitride on a sapphire substrate.  Two years later, the first blue LED with an MIS structure was created.  These advances prompted excitement about the development of GaN-based blue-light emitters, but just several years later, most gallium-nitride researchers had withdrawn from the field.  They could neither grow electronic-grade high-quality GaN single crystals nor control their electrical conductivity.  Both features were key to the development of high-performance blue-light emitters and high-power high-speed transistors.

About that time, an engineer named Isamu Akasaki, then working at Matsushita Research Institute Tokyo (MRIT), became intrigued by GaN’s potential for use in blue-light emitters.  With the idea in mind that electronic devices and the materials used to make them must be robust, he thought GaN could be the best candidate since it is very stable physically and chemically, even though it was difficult to form high-quality crystals with it.

Said Akasaki, “I realized the great potential of GaN as a blue luminescent material when I found tiny yet high-quality crystallites embedded in HVPE-grown crystals containing many cracks and pits.  I was intuitively convinced that conductivity control could be achieved if this kind of quality could be made over an entire wafer.”

His eventual success with GaN-based semiconductors ultimately contributed to display systems ranging from traffic lights to cell phones, to high-resolution TVs, digital signage, and more.  “Akasaki transferred these basic technologies to industry and made fundamental contributions to information-display technology,” says Yasushi Nanishi, a Professor at Seoul National University.

It is one thing to pursue a brilliant idea, but it is another to pursue it and eventually succeed after others have dismissed it.  “That a single scientist’s determination and dedication overcame a barrier that researchers throughout the world had become resigned to, and the impact of the multiple applications derived from this achievement, make this a truly great invention,” says colleague Maseo Ikeda.

Akasaki received his undergraduate degree from Kyoto University and doctoral degree from Nagoya University.  In 1952, he joined Kobe Kogyo Corp. (now, Fujitsu, Ltd.).  In 1959, he moved to Nagoya University, where he worked as a research associate and an associate professor.  In 1964, he became Head of the Basic Research Laboratory IV and General Manager of the Semiconductor Department, both at MRIT.  He returned to Nagoya University in 1981.  Akasaki has authored and/or co-authored more than 700 international journal/conference papers and 30 book chapters and has been awarded 123 Japanese patents (including 110 patents related to group III nitrides) and 90 foreign patents related to nitrides.

Jan Rajchman Prize

This award is presented for an outstanding scientific or technical achievement in, or contribution to, research on flat-panel displays.

Marc Baldo, SID member and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will receive the Jan Rajchman Prize “for his outstanding contributions to the discovery of phosphorescent-OLED devices.”

While a graduate student at Princeton, Marc Baldo helped develop phosphorescent OLEDs.  Prior to this development, all OLEDs were fluorescent, but fluorescence harnesses only spin 0, or singlet, excitons.  Since singlets represent only 25% of the total number of excitons generated by electrical excitation, successful exploitation of the remaining 75% promised to increase OLED efficiencies by a factor of 4.

According to Russell Holmes, Associate Professor with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, “This work by Marc (and co-workers in the groups of Professors Stephen Forrest and Mark Thompson) permitted an immediate quadrupling in the efficiency of these devices by harvesting typically dark triplet exciton states.  This work, published in Nature in 1998, represented a key enabling step for the development of an OLED-display industry and sparked an explosion of research into highly efficient phosphorescent emitters.”

The materials and structures Baldo worked on were later commercialized by Universal Display Corp.  Phosphorescent materials are now found in many commercial products, especially cell-phone displays.

Baldo received his bachelor of engineering degree from the University of Sydney and his Ph.D. from Princeton University.  When asked what led him to his chosen field, he says, “I was very interested in the novelty of building devices based on molecules.  I liked the idea of designing materials and devices atom by atom.  I found that it was possible to make a device in an afternoon.  It was an exciting time.  When I built my first OLED, I remember the shock of the beautiful deep red color.  I was hooked.”

OLEDs have been the “next big thing” for a long time, and while each year brings progress in terms of commercial devices, that progress has been slower than initially surmised by many enthusiasts.  Baldo says, “The challenge for OLEDs has been that they are an entirely new technology, unlike any previous semiconductor device or display technology.  Consequently, the industry has not been able to draw on many existing technologies.  From the devices themselves, to the packaging, to the manufacturing process, to the backplanes that drive the displays, everything has had to be developed specifically for OLEDs.  Even today, with devices that are stable and efficient, we are still working on the manufacturing process.  I think the advantages of OLEDs will make it all worthwhile, but it has been a lot of work.  We still do not know all that is possible with OLEDs.”

Slottow–Owaki Prize

The Slottow–Owaki Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to the education and training of students and professionals in the field of information displays.

Dr. Hoi-Sing Kwok, SID fellow and Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, will be awarded the Slottow–Owaki Prize, “for providing education and training in display technology to many students and professionals in the Asia region through the creation of a display research center.”

Dr. Hoi-Sing Kwok established the Center for Display Research (CDR) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 1995.  Many scientific institutions have a specific program of research in semiconductors, he explains, but not many have programs for displays.  “Yet, displays are a large market that is one-third to one-half that of semiconductors,” he says.  “There are a lot of opportunities in display research.”  Initially, Kwok was able to convince the government to provide about US$2 million to start CDR.

CDR has since evolved to become a center of excellence in display research, generating many noteworthy research results and training numerous doctoral and postdoctoral students for work in the display industry.  Kwok and his students have also produced significant intellectual properties in these research fields, obtaining 65 U.S. and Chinese patents thus far.

“Professor Kwok is an anchor of the display community in the Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China regions,” says Ching Tang, Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester.  “He has contributed to a wide range of display technologies, from LCOS to OLED, and from creating new device architectures to advancing display-manufacturing processes.  The direct impact is that a large group of professionals of diverse skills from his research group are now making their own contributions in both academics and the display industries.”

Former student Dr. Haiying Chen of APT Electronics writes, “Fourteen years ago, I joined Prof. Kwok’s group as a Ph.D candidate.  That was a big challenge for me, a graduate with materials science and engineering background only.  Prof. Kwok was very nice and patient.  He gave me enough space and freedom to learn, to think, to plan, and to try.  I benefited quite a lot during the four-year study and research under Prof. Kwok, especially in learning how to think and to work independently.”

Throughout his professional career, Kwok has supervised 42 Ph.D. dissertations, 20 master’s theses, and 80 B.S. senior projects.  He has co-authored one book, “Photoalignment of Liquid Crystalline Materials: Physics and Applications (Wiley/SID series),” and over 380 journal papers.

His greatest satisfaction as a teacher?  “To see the students grow and contribute to the industry.  And sometimes to see them becoming more knowledgeable than I and teaching me back.”

Lewis & Beatrice Winner Award

The Lewis & Beatrice Winner Award for Distinguished Service is awarded to a Society member for exceptional and sustained service to SID.

Dr. Shigeo Mikoshiba, SID Life Fellow, Jan Rajchman Prize winner, and Professor Emeritus at The University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, Japan, will receive the Lewis & Beatrice Winner Award “for his sustained exceptional contributions to SID for over 30 years.”

Dr. Shigeo Mikoshiba is a life-long researcher, educator, and gifted scientist who received SID’s Jan Rajchman Prize in 2007 for contributions to PDP and LCD backlighting technology.  Yet he has also through the years found time to serve and promote the Society for Information Display.  He joined SID in 1975, and since 1981 has continuously served SID, its Japan Chapter, Japan Display, and IDW.  He has been President and Secretary of SID, as well as chair and member of countless committees.  He has also served as an associate editor for both the Journal of the SID and Information Display.

“I have known and worked with Prof. Mikoshiba for a great many years,” says SID member Alan Sobel.  “He has worked tirelessly and indefatigably for SID in a number of capacities.”

Mikoshiba says it has not always been easy to find the time to volunteer, especially while balancing university research, education, and administrative duties (not to mention family obligations).  “Nevertheless, I enjoyed my volunteer activities very much,” he says.  Through these volunteer activities, Mikoshiba says he got to know many people who were helpful not only in terms of those activities but for his research work.  Last but not least, volunteer work enriches one’s personality, says Mikoshiba.

Mikoshiba earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plasma physics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  His doctoral degree, also in plasma physics, is from the University of Alberta.  Mikoshiba says he became interested in display technology while working for Hitachi starting in 1973, at about the time that PDPs, LCDs, and FEDs were all emerging. •

2013 SID Fellow Awards

The grade of fellow is conferred annually upon SID members of outstanding qualifications and experience as scientists or engineers whose significant contributions to the field of information display have been widely recognized.

Hiroyuki Mori, “For his significant contributions to the development of optical films for liquid-crystal displays including TN and OCB modes.” Dr. Mori received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied physics from the University of Tokyo and his Ph.D. from the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University.

Kälil Käläntär, “For his many contributions to the science and technology of liquid-crystal-display backlights, including light guides, optical micro-reflectors, and light-shaping devices.  Dr. Käläntär is a senior scientist at Global Optical Solutions.  He has Ph.Ds in Optics from Toyohashi University of Technology and Tohoku University.

Takatoshi Tsujimura, “For his contributions to the development of AMOLED displays and and OLED lighting.”  Mr. Tsujimura is General Manager and OLED Division Head for Konica Minolta, Inc.  He has a degree from Tokyo University.

Baoping Wang, “For his many contributions to the development of field-emission displays and the shadow-mask plasma display panel.”  Dr. Wang is a Professor of Electronics at Southeast University.  He received his Ph.D. in electronic engineering from Southeast University.

Gopalan (Raj) Rajeswaran, “For his pioneering contributions to the development, manufacture, and commercialization of AMOLED displays.  Dr. Rajeswaran is Chief Executive Officer with Moser Baer Technologies.  He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from SUNY Buffalo.


2013 SID Special Recognition Awards

Presented to members of the technical, scientific, and business community (not necessarily SID members) for distinguished and valued contributions to the information-display field.

Keiji Ishii, “For outstanding contributions to the development of the 145-in.-diagonal super-high-vision (8K x 4K) plasma display panel.”  Mr. Ishii is a Senior Research Engineer with the Display & Functional Devices Research Division, Science & Technology Research Laboratories, at Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK).  He received his B. E. and M. E. degrees in electrical engineering from Saga University.

Ryuichi Murai, “For outstanding contributions to the development of the 145-in.-diagonal super-high-vision (8K x 4K) plasma display panel.”  Mr. Murai is a researcher at Panasonic Corp.  He received his B.E. and M.E. degrees in electronic engineering from Osaka University.

In-Byeong Kang, “For his leading contributions to the development of manufacturable film-patterned-retarder 3D displays and in-plane-switching-based liquid-crystal panels.”  Dr. Kang is Senior Vice President and Head of the LG Display Laboratory at LG Display Co.  He earned his Ph.D. in electronic engineering from the University of South Australia.

Isao Kawahara, “For his contributions to the research and development of the moving-picture-resolution metric for display panels.”  Mr. Kawahara has retired as a senior manager for image quality at Panasonic Corp.  He received his M.E. degree in electric engineering from Kyoto University.

Qun (Frank) Yan, “For the development of the calcium-magnesium-oxide protective layer for high-luminous-efficacy plasma display panels.”  Dr. Yan is Chief Scientist of the plasma display panel (PDP) business unit within Changhong Electronics Group.  He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Vanderbilt University.

Takehiro Zukawa, “For the development of the calcium-magnesium-oxide protective layer for high-luminous-efficacy plasma display panels.”  Mr. Zukawa is a Staff Engineer with Panasonic Plasma Display Corp., Ltd.  He received his M.S. degree in engineering from Toyama University.

Hidefumi Yoshida, “For his significant contributions to the science and technology of liquid-crystal displays, including the multi-domain vertical-alignment mode.”  Dr. Yoshida is a Chief Technical Research Fellow with Sharp Corp.  He has a Ph.D. in engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology.

The Society for Information Display is indebted to the following companies, who each donated $2000 to sponsor a prize:
Braun Prize — AU Optronics Corp.
Rajchman Prize — Sharp Corp.
Slottow-Owaki Prize — Fujitsu, Ltd., and Dr. Tsutae Shinoda

Jenny Donelan is the Managing Editor of Information DisplayMagazine.  She can be reached at