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Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory
208 North Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801


Office hours 8:30a - 5:00p


Phone: 217-333-3097
Fax: 217-244-6375


Edmund G. Seebauer

Edmund G. Seebauer

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
114 Roger Adams Laboratory, MC-MC 712
600 S. Mathews
Urbana, Illinois 61801
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Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1986

Research Statement:
Engineering of Semiconductor Defects for Nanoscale Devices
Research in this group focuses on controlling the behavior of atomic-scale defects in semiconducting materials to make nanoscale devices of interest in energy, environmental, and microelectronics applications. Despite the harmful sound of “defect,” such species can actually be beneficial for semiconductor properties. For example, controlled substitution of dopant atoms for host atoms in a semiconductor (as “substitutional defects”) is absolutely essential for the operation of microelectronic devices. Our work aims at “defect engineering” seeks to manipulate the identities of the majority defects in semiconductors as well as their concentrations, spatial distribution, and mobility. We have discovered two new physical mechanisms to accomplish this control that work particularly well at the nanoscale. The mechanisms include saturation of dangling bonds at a surface and photostimulation. Our work employs both experiments and computations to develop this fundamental science base, while simultaneously applying the findings to practical applications.
The principles of defect engineering can be employed for semiconductors such as metal oxides used in catalysts for energy applications. In fuel cells, for example, metals supported on semiconducting oxides such as Pt/Co2O3 and Pd/V2O5 are known to be among the best catalysts for cathodes and anodes, respectively. Noble metals on semiconducting oxides can be used for generating hydrogen from water using sunlight. Active metal particles are often very small – sometimes only a few nanometers in diameter. The activity can be strongly influenced by defects near the semiconductor surface. Thus, we view these systems as nanoscale semiconductor devices whose behavior can be tailored through control of the defects. This approach provides a new way to create novel catalyst structures with improved activity and selectivity. 
Defect engineering also finds use in environmental catalysis applications. For example, vanadia (V2O5) supported on titania (TiO2) is the best material for selective catalytic reduction of dangerous nitric oxides to nitrogen by ammonia in combustion exhausts. Titania has many existing and potential uses in water cleanup by photocatalysis, as well as in self-cleaning coatings. One factor that limits the efficiency of such catalysts is unwanted defects that destroy the useful photoelectrons. Defect engineering to remove the unwanted defects permits higher efficiency.
Research Interests:
Engineering of Semiconductor Defects for Nanoscale Devices
For more information:
Research Synopsis
Seebauer Group website
Seebauer's Provost Office webpage

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements:

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Teaching:

  • DuPont Young Faculty Award, 1989
  • Dow Teaching Excellence Award, 1988