Pallab Bhattacharya, the Charles M. Vest Distinguished University
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and James R. Mellor
Professor of Engineering, will be honored this March in New Orleans, when he
will be presented with the 2008 John Bardeen Award at the annual meeting of
The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS).
The Bardeen Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding
contributions and is a leader in the field of electronic materials. John
Bardeen's career of theoretical and experimental research set the foundation
for the current state of understanding of electronic materials. His primary
contributions were the invention and development of the solid-state
transistor and the theory that developed greater understanding of
superconductivity. He is the only person to have received the Nobel Prize
twice in the same subject (physics).
Professor Bhattacharya will receive this award for his pioneering
contributions to the epitaxy and characterization of strained semiconductor
heterostructures and self-organized quantum dots and their device
applications. “It is a distinct honor to be recognized by TMS and my peers
as recipient of the 2008 John Bardeen Award,” said Bhattacharya, who added,
“It is a tribute to all my students, research associates and collaborators.
It is very special to be associated with this award that recognizes the name
of John Bardeen and his contributions to science.”
Since coming to the University of Michigan in1984, Prof. Bhattacharya has
pioneered technological advances in synthetically modulated semiconductor
structures, nanophotonic devices, and other optoelectronic device and
integrated circuit developments. One of his first breakthroughs was through
his work with quantum dots.
While using molecular beam epitaxy to grow semiconductors one atomic
layer at a time, in 1988, Bhattacharya and his team noticed that increasing
the concentration of indium in ultra-thin layers of the alloy semiconductor
InGaAs caused the material to naturally form islands. The pyramidal shaped
islands were self-assembling and were subsequently termed quantum dots by
virtue of their size. The resultant research Bhattacharya conducted with
Prof. Jasprit Singh led to the publication of their seminal paper on quantum
In 1996, together with his graduate students and colleague Professor Ted
Norris, Director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences, Professor
Bhattacharya demonstrated the first room temperature quantum dot laser. Quantum dot lasers outperform
other semiconductor lasers, and are finding numerous applications in
communications and other areas. Next, Bhattacharya worked
on quantum dot infrared photodetectors, capable of operating at high
temperatures, with his graduate student (and now colleague) Jamie Phillips.
These detectors are now being inserted into infrared cameras.
More recently, using the spin of electrons and holes in semiconductors,
he designed the first spin-light emitting diode and spin-laser. This laser
uses the quantum dots and can communicate increased information with
decreased power consumption.
Prof. Bhattacharya is currently working on high-speed and high-power
quantum dot lasers, quantum dot infrared photodetectors, photonic crystal
quantum dot devices, and spin-based heterostructure devices. His group
recently demonstrated the first semiconductor based spin valve, spin
amplifier and an electrically injected spin laser.
Reflecting on these years of discovery, Prof. Bhattacharya stated, “This
has been an incredible journey. There were a lot of non-believers of the
potential of these nanostructures and those who proclaimed that quantum dots
would not amount to much. But through the complementary work of Norris,
Singh, Rachel Goldman (Materials Science and Engineering) and Brad Orr
(Physics), and of groups elsewhere, we laid a very strong foundation and the
ensuing science and device physics and technology have been very exciting.
My students and I have been on a roll for almost 2 decades.”
Professor Bhattacharya is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of
Physics D. He has edited Properties of Lattice-Matched and Strained
InGaAs (UK: INSPEC, 1993) and Properties of III-V Quantum Wells and
Superlattices (UK: INSPEC, 1996). He authored the textbook
Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices (Prentice Hall, 2nd edition), which
is still used worldwide.
Professor Bhattacharya has received many professional honors and awards,
including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the IEEE (EDS) Paul
Rappaport Award, the IEEE (LEOS) Engineering Achievement Award, the Optical
Society of America (OSA) Nick Holonyak Award, the SPIE Technical Achievement
Award, the Quantum Devices Award of the International Symposium on Compound
Semiconductors, and the IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award. At the University
of Michigan, he was awarded the S. S. Attwood Award, the Ted Kennedy Family
Team Excellence Award, and the Research Excellence Award from the College of
Engineering, and the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty
Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of IEEE, the American Physical Society,
the Institute of Physics (UK), and the Optical Society of America.