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Professor Nick Holonyak Jr.

Nick Holonyak Jr.

Professor Nick Holonyak Jr.
John Bardeen Chair Professor 

ECE Department and Physics Department
288 Microelectronics Lab
208 N. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 333-3179 (phone) and 244-6375 (Fax)

Professor Nick Holonyak, Jr., has worked at the forefront of semiconductor science and technology since 1952 (45+ years).  At Bell Labs, he was an early contributor (1954-55) to diffused-impurity oxide-masked silicon device technology, including transistors, p-n-p-n switches, and thyristors (SCR's) [1].  Later at General Electric (1957-1963), he was the inventor of the shorted emitter used in all thyristors and fundamental to all symmetrical switches (TRIACs), including the basic element in the wall light dimmer.  Also he is the first to make silicon tunnel diodes and observe phonon-assisted tunneling [2].  This is the first demonstration of inelastic tunneling and marks the beginning of tunneling spectroscopy (now widely used in many areas of research).  In 1960 he invented closed-tube vapor phase epitaxy of III-V semiconductors, which is the forerunner of all present-day III-V epitaxy.  He was the first (1960) to grow GaAs1-xPx (an alloy) and in 1962 the first to construct a visible-spectrum semiconductor laser [3].  This is the primary demonstration that III-V alloys are "smooth" (not disturbed) and viable in general for use in optoelectronic devices.  For this work he is considered the inventor of the first practical LED, the red GaAs1-xPx LED.  This marks also the beginning of the use of III-V alloys in semiconductor devices, including in heterojunctions and quantum well heterostructures.

Since 1963, he has been a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois, where he and his graduate students have pioneered in the study of quantum-well (QW) and superlattice (SL) lasers.  They were the first (1977) to construct p-n quantum well lasers(InP-InGaAsP, LPE) [4], and the first to achieve (1978) continuous-wave room-temperature laser operation of quantum-well heterstructures and superlattices [5, 6].  They are the source of the name "quantum well lasers" [7].

In 1980, his research group discovered impurity-induced layer disordering [8], which shifts lower gap quantum-well layers to higher gap bulk layers and serves as a basis for integrated optoelectronic devices.  In 1990, he and his students introduced higher temperature (>400 C) stable native oxides on Al-bearing III-V compounds and have demonstrated their use in lasers and LEDs [9].  In addition, they were the first to demonstrate lateral oxidation of Al1-xGaxAs for current confinement in a semiconductor laser [10].  In 1997, they were the first to demonste the use of tunnel junction for lateral current conduction in vertical cavity surface emitting lasers [11].

Besides 500 published papers, Holonyak has 30 patents, including licensed patents on impurity induced layer disordering (IILD) and the use of IILD and Al-bearing native oxides in QWH devices.

Prof. Holonyak's research has been widely recognized by the semiconductor and physics community, and he has been honored with numerous national and international awards:

  • IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Award (1973)
  • Heinrich Welker Medal of the International Symposium on GaAs and Related compounds (1976)
  • National Academy of Engineering (1973)
  • IEEE Jack A. Morton Award (1981)
  • National Academy of Sciences (1984)
  • American Academy of Arts and Science (1984)
  • IEEE Edison Medal (1989)
  • National Medal of Science (1990)
  • Honorary Member of the Ioffe-Physical-Technical Institute - St. Peterburg, Russia (1992)
  • Japan Prize (1995)
  • Russian Academy of Sciences (1999)
  • IEEE Third Millenium Award (2000)
  • OSA Frederic Ives Metal (2001)

Selected Publications:

[1] J. L. Moll, M. Tanenbaum, J. M. Goldey, and N. Holonyak, Jr., "P-N-P-N Transistor Switches," Proc. IRE, vol. 44, pp. 1174-1182, 1956.

[2] N. Holonyak, Jr. I. A. Lesk, R. N. Hall, J. J. Tiemann, and H. Ehrenreich, "Direct Observation of Phonons During Tunneling in Narrow Junction Diodes," Phys. Rev. Lett. vol. 3, pp. 167-168, 1959.

[3] N. Holonyak Jr. and S. F. Bevacqua,, "Coherent (Visible) Light Emission from Ga(As1-xPx) Junctions," Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 1, pp. 82-83, 1962.

[4] E. A Rezek, N. Holonyak, Jr., B.A. Vojak, G. E. Stillman, J. A. Rossi, D. L. Keune, and J. D. Fairing, "LPE In1-xGaxP1-zAsz (x~.12, z~0.26) DH Laser with Multiple Thin-Layer (<500 A) Active Region," Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 31, pp. 288-290,1977.

[5] N. Holonyak, Jr., R. M. Kolbas, R. D. Dupuis, and P. D. Dapkus, "Room-Temperature Continuous Operation of Photopumped MOCVD AlxGa1-xAs-GaAs-AlxGa1-xAs Quantum-Well Lasers," Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 33, pp. 73-75, 1978.

[6] R. D. Dupuis, P. D. Dapkus, R. Chin, N. Holonyak, Jr. and S. W. Kirchoefer, "Continuous 300 K Laser Operation of Single-Quantum-Well AlxGa1-xAs-GaAs Heterostructure Diodes Grown by Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition," Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 34, pp. 265-267, 1979.

[7] M. J. Ludowise, W. T. Dietze, C. R. Lewis, M. D. Camras, N. Holonyak, Jr., B. K. Fuller, and M.A. Nixon, "Continuous 300-K Laser Operation of Strained Superlatices, " Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 42, pp. 487-489, 1983).

[7] N. Holonyak, Jr., R. M. Kolbas, R. D. Dupuis, and P. D. Dapkus "Quantum-Well Heterostructure Lasers," IEEE J. Quantum Electron., vol. 16, pp. 170-186, 1980.

[8] N. Holonyak,  Jr., W. D. Laidig, B. A. Vojak, K. Hess, J. J. Coleman, P. D. Dapkus, and J. Bardeen, "Alloy Clustering in AlxGa1-xAs-GaAs Quantum-Well Heterostructures, " Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 45, pp. 1703-1706, 1980.

[9] J. M. Dallesasse, N. Holonyak, Jr. A. R. Sugg, T. A. Richard, and N. El-Zein, "Hydrolyzation Oxidation of AlxGa1-xAs-AlAs-GaAs Quantum Well Heterostructures and Superlattices, " Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 57, pp. 2844-2846, 1990.

[10]  S. A. Maranowski, A. R. Sugg, and E.I Chen, N. Holonyak, Jr., "Native  Oxide Top- and Bottom-Confined Narrow Stripe p-n AlyGa1-yAs-GaAs-InxGa1-xAs Quantum Well Heterostructure Laser," Appl. Phys. Lett. vol. 63, pp. 1660-1662, 1993.  [Download or view a PDF version of this paper]

[11] J. J. Wierer, P. W. Evans, D. A. Kellogg, N. Holonyak, Jr., "Lateral Electron Current Operation of Vertical Surface Emittering Lasers with Buried Tunnel Contact Hole Sources," Appl. Phys. Lett. vol. 72, pp. 2742-2744, 1997.
[Download or view a PDF version of this paper]