Nick Holonyak, Jr.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Nick Holonyak

John Bardeen Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics, and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

I was John Bardeen’s first student, and I have been working with semiconductors, transistors, p-n-p-n switches, thyristors, Si and III-V’s, LEDs, lasers, etc. since 1952, 57+ years, since the time we started Bardeen’s lab in Urbana.

In 1962 (at GE, Syracuse) I was the one who made the “red-spectrum” III-V alloy LED and diode laser (APL 1, 1962), the first III-V alloy device and one of the first diode lasers, and now almost 47 years later I am the only one of the 1962 originators of the diode laser who is still working on current-driven semiconductor lasers. I don’t know if I’ll get to the 50th anniversary, but I am now way past an anniversary of 40 years.

It doesn’t “all” start in 1969 for me, or for my grad students, but much earlier. For me, 1962 is a much more significant year than 1969. There is a continuous stream of studies by us on III-V alloy lasers, LEDs, device physics, crystal and materials problems, etc. in the last 47+ years.

Much of this appears in Applied Physics Letters and JAP, which I am sure is available to you. Besides the significance of 1962 and our laser work in APL, in 1977 in APL we described the first use of quantum wells in diode lasers, in ~ 1980 impurity and defect-induced disordering and III-V heterolayer intermixing and its use in lasers, ~ 1990 native III-V oxide definition of laser geometries, 2004+ transistor lasers, etc.

I particularly want to call your attention to what we, Professor M. Feng and I (and our students and colleagues), have been doing recently on the transistor laser, a true transistor and simultaneously a unique three-terminal laser. I consider the transistor laser as revolutionary with far-reaching implications, e.g., I think leading eventually to a super computer the size of a box not a building. But that is something for someone else to worry about. I’ve had enough fun doing what I do.