GaN Rising

Science and Technology @ UCSB

The proliferation of electronic devices and the growing need to process large amounts of data are among the reasons why the world needs to marshal its energy resources wisely. Add to that the obsolescence of our conventional electrical grid, the emerging Internet of Things and the call to bring essential human requirements — such as light and agriculture — into the 21st century. Underlying those new technologies and energy-saving efforts is gallium nitride (GaN), a compound with unique and valuable electronic properties.UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Umesh Mishra anticipated the need for higher performance and energy efficiency a long time ago. For decades he has focused his research on the development of GaN electronics, opto-electronics and materials. Due in part to his efforts, GaN has now become the cornerstone for advanced, energy-efficient technologies including power electronics, optical data storage, semiconductor lasers and — last but not least — white LEDs, which have revolutionized lighting throughout the world.
On Monday, Nov. 26, Mishra will deliver the 63rd Annual Faculty Research Lecture, the highest honor bestowed upon UC Santa Barbara professors in recognition of extraordinary scholarly distinction. The event at Corwin Pavilion, which is free and open to the public, begins with a reception at 4 p.m., followed by the lecture at 5:15 p.m.
Titled “Thank God for GaN,” Mishra’s lecture outlines the power of GaN to not only drive innovation but also to modernize existing technology, reduce power consumption and limit energy waste.
“Prof. Shuji Nakamura is the founder of the excitement that is GaN because of his Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough of the ubiquitous blue and white LED,” Mishra said. “Along with him and my other colleagues Steve DenBaars, Jim Speck and many others, we hope to create the second wave of excitement based on electronic devices with potential impact as broad as the photonic applications of GaN.”
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