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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read book on Nakamura and LEDs, June 1, 2007
This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
I heartily recommend this book for people who are interested in innovation, business, science, technology, etc. The book tells the fascinating story of Nakamura and the impact LEDs are having on the lighting industry.

Part One of the book tells the story of how Nakamura invented the first commercially successful GaN LED. Part Three explains how Nakamura became unwanted at Nichia and how he decided to move to UCSB. Parts Two and Four talk about some of the companies that are using LEDs to make exciting new products. I'll be a nit picker and say the book should be titled "Shuji Nakamura and the *Coming* revolution in Lighting Technology" because the revolution is just starting.

Although LEDs have been around for about four decades and everyone already owns products that incororate them, very few people understand the potential of LEDs and the impact that they will have on lighting over the next few years. The conversion to white LEDs for general lighting is underway. People will want to understand more about this phenomenon as they recognize the impact that LEDs are having on the lighting industry and energy consumption. The good news is that this book will serve as a tutorial for people who want to learn about LEDs.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ for environmentalists and investors!!, May 14, 2007
This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
Brilliant!!! Refreshing!!! Bob Johnstone is correct in espousing Shuji Nakamura as the leader of the LED revolution. Shuji's list of patents and accomplishments in his field far outshine all of his peers put together. Definitely a Nobel Prize in the works for Mr. Nakamura and hopefully a Pulitzer for Mr. Johnstone for his ability to explain this complex subject to the average reader in a true tale of high intrigue! The LED scientific community is still rather small. The competition for the holy grail (replacing the everyday lightbulb) is phenomenal. Bob and Shuji have this unusual, provocative combination that tells the story of this new high tech race. Bob spends quite a few chapters explaining the unusual and life changing ramifications of LED development worlwide. A must read for any investor or those with eco-green concerns!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on LED technology, August 10, 2009
By 
Amazon Customer "drvita" (White Bear Lake, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
Many people have said that energy conservation is the key to weaning ourselves of foreign oil and dirty coal but how do we do it? This book not only gives you the fascinating story behind the development of the blue LED but also provides a path to help us conserve energy. I would especially recommend this book to anybody who is thinking of starting a green business in 2009 or beyond.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lone inventor, February 9, 2009
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This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
The topic of the book is super fascinating: a single unknown inventor working in a small Japanese island with a restricted budget made a breakthrough discovery in a field where the competition was fierce and with almost unlimited resources ( private giant electronic corporations and universities ).

However I found the author writing to be quite flat and not very captivating.
Furthermore the sequence of chapters is rather confusing and the story is filled with boring details about some start-up linked to led technology.

Overall a good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any science library strong in invention history needs BRILLIANT!, July 27, 2007
This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
BRILLIANT! SHUJI NAKAMURA AND THE REVOLUTION IN LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY tells of the evolution of LED technology and how it was stalled over making an LED that would emit the bright blue light needed to make useful white light LEDs - until researcher Shuji Nakamura's key invention which single-handedly created the industry of solid-state lighting. Author Bob Johnstone is the first Western journalist to meet and interview Nakamura, and here provides a powerful blend of science and biography to show how the inventor made his ground-breaking discovery and how LEDs are revolutionizing the world. Any science library strong in invention history needs BRILLIANT!

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, April 25, 2014
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An exciting technology business book? I would have said that was an oxymoron but Brilliant proves it. It is a great read!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A spLEnDid book, January 11, 2013
By 
Arun Goud (West Lafayette, IN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
I stumbled upon this book strangely while looking to return a bunch of disappointing CFL bulbs I had ordered from Amazon to replace a busted one in my apartment. I first heard about Shuji Nakamura two years ago as a silent spectator listening to two research associates enthusiastically discuss his glorious achievement (invention of blue LED) and somehow my mind clung to that name. So when I came across this book listing on Amazon's suggested reading section recently I knew I had to grab it.

Nakamura-san is sort of a celebrity among those working on Gallium Nitride based electronics. He is after all the 2nd person to win the Millenium Technology prize (the first being Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web) and is widely considered to be a front-runner for winning the Nobel Prize in Physics someday, possibly along with Nick Holonyak Jr. Even more inspiring is the saga of how working in relative obscurity for Nichia Chemicals in Tokushima, Japan, he almost single-handedly beat more experienced researchers with PhDs around the world in the quest for developing the 1st high brightness blue LED. This when combined with the then well established red and green LEDs was the key to the development of the first white LEDs. The breakthrough was so unexpected that in the words of one Toshiba researcher "Everyone was caught with their pants down".

Here's a breakdown of the book and what I feel about it.
"Brilliant!..." is divided into 4 parts.
1. PART 1 - OUT OF THE BLUE presents a well researched short biography on Nakamura and the history of blue LED development starting from the futile attempts by the American Herb Maruska and his fellow researchers at RCA in the 1960s. It also describes how a fledgling North Carolina based start-up Cree Research managed to build and commercialize Silicon Carbide based feeble blue LEDs only to be overtaken by Nakamura with his brilliant blue GaN LED in the early 90s. This is the most exciting and facts-filled part of the book.

2. PART 2 - THE FLOODGATES OPEN contains excerpts from interviews that founders of various start-ups that had dived into LED technology during the mid 90s and were some of the 1st customers of Nichia's white LEDs gave to the author. There are also 4 pages with color photographs of some of those founders along with Nakamura, Nichia's president Nobua Ogawa, Maruska and some products using white LEDs.

3. PART 3 - FLIGHT OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE describes the fall out between Nakamura and his employer Nichia which eventually led to him leaving Japan and assuming a professorship position at the University of California, Santa Barbara after being wooed by several universities and Cree Research. This part is somewhat boring and it details all the legal troubles and patent disputes involving Nichia, its competitors and Nakamura that ensued during Nakamura's initial years at UCSB.

4. PART 4 - THE END OF EDISON is more of a pitch for how adoption of light emitting diodes will soon revolutionize the lighting industry around the world and lead to enormous energy and cost-savings. It has interviews from founders of lighting and building design companies who have started using LEDs to achieve effects that were unthinkable with incandescent bulbs such as dimming, color shifting, etc.

There are a couple of mistakes in the book which frankly is not crucial towards understanding the content of this book and can be overlooked by layman readers.
1. On page 48 - The author describes an LED as consisting of two layers of same material where one is positively charged (has excess holes) and the other negatively charged (has excess electrons) by adding impurities...

The two layers are in fact charge neutral since in creating excess mobile holes/electrons an equal concentration of immobile impurity ions of the opposite polarity are left behind. Only the space charge region at the interface between the two layers has a finite spatial charge distribution. This is because the electrons and holes in this region recombine and get annihilated thus "uncovering" the immobile ions.

2. On page 49 - The author describes the outermost shell of Silicon as being its conduction band.

The outermost shell would be the region around the nucleus of an atom which is composed of the valence orbitals, i.e., the electrons that can take part in bond formation or chemical reactions.
The conduction band would be the energy values that an electron kicked out of its valence shell and free to roam around in the solid is allowed to assume.

3. On page 49 - The author describes conductors as having 8 electrons in their outermost shell.

Most conductors have 1, 2 or 3 electrons in their outermost shell. Only Noble gases have a full outermost shell with 8 electrons (except Helium which has only 2).

There are some instances where the picturesque language employed by the author can either evoke laughter or be cringe-inducing.
1. "...some of the electrons combine with some of the holes. They annhilate one another, giving up the GHOST in the form of a photon, i.e., light."
2. "For a crystal lattice, giving birth to a photon is a stressful event. Zinc Selenide simply wasn't robust enough to cope with the stress."
3. "(What makes a well quantum? As with anything to do with quantum mechanics, if like me you are untechnical, this is a question that it is probably better not to ask. In essence, "quantum" means something that is very small indeed.)

Despite these shortcomings, full credit to the author for beautifully describing the MOCVD process and especially Nakamura's two-flow MOCVD system which was instrumental in his invention of the blue GaN LED. The author concludes optimistically by stating that the revolution in lighting will be brought about by LED entrepreneurs and I beg to differ on this. In electronics it's always the big players that have the final say. Whether the revolution progresses or falters would most probably be decided by GE and Philips.

I recommend this book just for the first part which is fascinating and would serve as a motivating lesson for those involved in technical fields and interested in disruptive technologies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great bio, September 9, 2012
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For anyone interested In a great bio, or interested in LED lighting this book is a must have. The book starts out a little slow but after that it is such a great read. I bought the Kindle for me, then my partner bought the kindle version, one of my employees bought a kindle version, so I bought the hard copy for my other employees to share, and finally I bought a Kindle version for a good customer.
For anyone in the lighting business I think it should be required reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for anybody who loves LEDs!, August 31, 2014
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This review is from: Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology (Hardcover)
This book is great. It has just enough technical information to satisfy a scientist or engineer, but not too much as to isolate other readers. A must-read for people who love tech history or lighting technology!
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Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology
Brilliant!: Shuji Nakamura And the Revolution in Lighting Technology by Bob Johnstone (Hardcover - April 12, 2007)
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