DenBaars – AAFM-Nakamura Award

ECE Prof. Steven Denbaars chosen by the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials (AAFM) as one of two recipients of its 2021 AAFM-Nakamura Award named for Nobel Prize winner and Materials and ECE Prof. Shuji Nakamura

photo of steve denbaars

Excerpt from The UCSB Current article "Pioneering Work"

The award recognizes “an outstanding scientist in the field of functional materials who has made significant contributions and whose work shows significant innovation in the field.” UC Berkeley professor of chemistry Omar Yaghi was also selected.

“I am very honored to receive this award for my contributions to functional materials, especially III-nitride semiconductors, and also because it was named after my esteemed colleague,” said DenBaars, who was unanimously chosen by the AAFM-Nakamura Award committee from “among many exceptional nominations.”

“The department is very proud of the recognition for Professor DenBaars’s many contributions to the development of gallium nitride light-emitting devices that impact our daily lives,” said Michael Chabinyc, chair of the Department of Materials at UC Santa Barbara.

As the term implies, functional materials are those that have properties that enable them to perform specific functions, such as magnetism, energy storage or thermoelectricity, to name a few. DenBaars is recognized for his “pioneering work” with gallium nitride (GaN) — a highly efficient and high-performing semiconductor material that is the foundation of energy-efficient lighting, micro-LED displays, power electronics and nonpolar and semipolar laser diodes. Its efficiency and ability to withstand higher voltages and temperatures make it an ideal building block for power-saving electronics and versatile solid-state lasers, and it has already been embraced in the lighting, photonics and electronics industries.

In addition to his expertise with gallium nitride and its fabrication, DenBaars, who joined the UCSB faculty in 1991, is a seasoned entrepreneur, bringing to the market the various powerful, versatile and energy-efficient technologies that can be built on GaN.

The UCSB Current – "Pioneering Work" (full article)