I work to solve such urging problems with timely and efficient solutions. My challenge is to develop energy-saving devices such as LED or Laser-lighting, and energy-generation devices using photo-catalysis to help future generations.

Education Profile

  • PhD, University of Tokyo, 1992
  • MSc, University of Tokyo, 1985 
  • BSc, Tokyo University of Science,1983


Kazuhiro Ohkawa's courses

  • EE306 Electrical and Optical Prop. of Semiconductors
  • EE390D Special Topics in Photonics

Kazuhiro Ohkawa is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Principal Investigator of the Energy Conversion Devices and Materials (ECO Devices) Laboratory. His research projects are clean energy generation such as solar hydrogen and artificial photosynthesis by using semiconductors, energy-saving devices such as LEDs and laser diodes. His key technology is the original MOVPE method.

Education and early career

Ohkawa majored in Physics during bachelor and master courses. He holds a Ph.D. in Science from the University of Tokyo in the fields of MBE-grown ZnSe and their blue LEDs. He was a senior research staff at Panasonic Ltd, a professor of Physics at the University of Bremen, Germany, and a professor of Applied Physics at Tokyo University of Science.

Professor Ohkawa invented nitrogen-plasma doping for ZnSe, and their blue-green lasers and LEDs. The nitrogen-plasma source is now a standard technology for nitride MBE. After that, he started to involve in MOVPE growth of GaN. He has developed world-record deep-red InGaN-LEDs based on the original MOVPE. His nitride MOVPE simulation is contributing to worldwide industries producing InGaN LEDs, lasers, and AlGaN electronics.  He has invented nitride photocatalysts which is useful for solar hydrogen and artificial photosynthesis.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

Professor Ohkawa‘s research interests include science and device applications of energy-conversion phenomena toward a sustainable future. 

Artificial photosynthesis converts light energy to clean chemical energy (solar hydrogen, renewable carbon energy). Ohkawa's group has found out novel active co-catalysis materials, are studying the underneath science of those and also pursue more energy conversion efficiency.

Solid-state lighting can save energy. Besides, efficient red InGaN LEDs will make it possible to realize monolithic RGB-LEDs for micro-LED displays as the next generation after OLED displays. Industries in Japan, China, Korea, and other countries have introduced Ohkawa's ideas into their businesses.

Career recognitions

Professor Ohkawa has received a series of honors and recognitions for his contribution to solid-state lighting, among them a Visiting Professorship, Xiamen University, China 2007-2013, Visiting Professorship (lifelong) at Tianjin University of Technology and Education, China, and an Honorary Professorship (lifelong) at University of Bremen, Germany. He is doing/did consultancy for approximately 20 companies in the abovementioned research fields.

Editorial activities

His research has led to approximately 200 scientific publications, 28 granted US and Japanese patents and more than 60 invited talks.

Why solid state lighting?

I think energy is the crucial point for a sustainable society suppressing global warming. The lighting portion is huge in world electricity consumption. Solid-state lighting saves energy by one order compared to other lighting sources. If we achieve 1.5 times in efficiency, we can save energy by one-third of the massive lighting energy consumption. We should keep or improve the quality of life but should save energy more for sustainable growth. Also, we are trying to improve the quality of the current solid-state lighting. If you want to know more about that, please come to my office.


A Nobel laureate informed me that KAUST is a new university and has great potential as a research hub in the world. I joined KAUST in 2016 as the Director of the Energy Conversion Devices and Materials (ECO Devices) Lab. I recognized that KAUST creates a scientific atmosphere to realize something. Thanks to such situations, I aim to develop new valuable devices and cutting-edge semiconductor growth methods.

Selected Publications

K. Ohkawa, Y. Uetake, M. Velazquez-Rizo, D. Iida, “Photoelectrochemical hydrogen generation using graded In-content InGaN photoelectrode structures" Nano Energy 59, 569–573 (2019).
K. Ohkawa, F. Ichinohe, T. Watanabe, K. Nakamura, D. Iida, “Metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxial growth simulation to realize high-quality and high-In-content InGaN alloys” Journal of Crystal Growth 512, 69-73 (2019).
D. Iida, K. Niwa, S. Kamiyama, K. Ohkawa, “Demonstration of InGaN-based orange LEDs with hybrid multiple-quantum-wells structure”, Applied Physics Express 9, 111003 (2016).