Nobel recognises communications
Charles Kao, Willard Boyle, and George Smith will share this year's Nobel Prize for physics, BBC reported.
Kao is lauded for his work in helping to develop fibre optic cables, the slender threads of glass that carry phone and net data as light.
Boyle and Smith, who work out of the US, are recognised for their part in the invention of the charged coupled device, or CCD.
This light detector lies at the heart of nearly all digital cameras.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said half the prize would go to Kao, who was born in Shanghai and is a UK-US citizen.
It was his insight while working in the UK in the 1960s, said the academy, which allowed researchers to take fibre optics to a new level - to enable them to transmit light over much longer distances than had previously been possible.
Today, fibre optics underpin the communication society. The hair-like cables speed data around the globe. The telephony system is built on the technology, and high-speed broadband internet would not be possible without it.
The other half of the prize is to be split between Boyle and Smith, both of Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill in the US sate of New Jersey.
Their group invented the first digital sensor, a CCD (Charge-Coupled Device).
The light detectors are based on Albert Einstein's famous photoelectric effect.
By this effect, light is transformed into electric signals. The challenge when designing an image sensor was to gather and read out the signals in a large number of image points, pixels, in a short time.
The Nobel Prizes - which also cover chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics (more properly called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize) - are valued at 10m Swedish Kronor (£900,000; 1m euros; $1.4m).
Laureates also receive a medal and a diploma.
This year's medicine Nobel, announced on Monday, honoured the study of telomeres, the structures in cells that cap the end's of DNA bundles, or chromosomes.
The work has further our understanding on human ageing, cancer and stem cells.