Japanese scientists Isamu Akasaki, 85, a professor at Meijo University, Nagoya; Hiroshi Amano, 54, a professor at Nagoya University; and Japanese-born American scientist Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
For inventing blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that can be combined with green and red LEDs to create a light that appears white.
The invention of blue LEDs has spurred the development of smartphones, computer and television screens. White LED lights also provide a way of replacing traditional incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps with an energy-efficient and environment-friendly source.
"Incandescent light bulbs had lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps," the Nobel committee said.
WHAT THEY SAID
In a news conference on Japanese television, Akasaki immediately thanked his colleagues.
"I did not achieve this alone," he said.
Nakamura said he was satisfied that LED lighting is becoming a reality.
"I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide," he said in a statement.