Georgia Tech Professor to Receive White House Honor for Science and Technology
The White House has selected Russell Dupuis, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and two colleagues as recipients of the 2002 National Medal of Technology. The team was selected for their work to develop and commercialize light emitting diodes, commonly called LEDs - a technology that forms the numbers on digital clocks, transmits information from remote controls and lights up watches.
President George W. Bush will present the medals at a White House ceremony on Nov. 6. During the ceremony, he also will award the National Medals of Science. The medals are the nation's highest honor for work in science and technology and are bestowed to America's leading innovators. The medals are given annually to individuals, teams, or companies.
The team of Nick Holonyak, Jr., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M. George Craford, LumiLeds Lighting in San Jose, Calif.; and Dupuis, was selected for "contributions to the development and commercialization of light-emitting diode technology, with applications to digital displays, consumer electronics, automotive lighting, traffic signals and general illumination."
"I'm happy to be a part of the history of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and this Medal is a wonderful recognition of that contibution," says Dupuis. "It has been interesting to teach graduate students about this technology that I perfected in the 1970s, then have them go out and discover and learn new applications and new ways to improve these important materials."
In August, Dupuis, the Steve W. Chaddick Endowed Chair in Electro-Optics and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, moved his Advanced Materials and Devices Group from the University of Texas at Austin to Georgia Tech where they continue to focus on developing new semiconductor materials, primarily to make light emitters more efficient so that every watt of electrical energy going into the semiconductor becomes light at 100 percent efficiency.
LEDs, small electronic devices made from semiconductor materials, are the world's most efficient light source being mass-produced today. They are seen more and more in automotive taillights and traffic signals. The energy savings of replacing traditional traffic signals with LED versions pays off in about twelve months or less, according to Dupuis.
"A typical incandescent light bulb is very inefficient, with less than one percent of the energy becoming useful light; much of the energy is lost as heat," Dupuis said. "In principal, LEDs and their fundamental component, the p-n junction, can convert 100 percent of electricity into light. If we can replace some large fraction of lighting products to LEDs, then we can save billions of gallons in oil and tons of coal reserves. So, the real impact of this technology is in the energy sphere."
Medal co-recipient, Holonyak, invented the first visible LED in the early 1960s, and was Dupuis' Ph.D. adviser at the University of Illinois at Champaign in the early 1970s. After graduate school, Dupuis worked for Rockwell International and made his major contributions to LED and laser technology.
Dupuis is responsible for seminal basic improvements of the metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) process and for the initial development of sophisticated MOCVD crystal growth equipment that then made possible the growth of sophisticated heterostructure devices by the MOCVD process. MOCVD is now the dominant technology for the growth of III-V semiconductor heterojunction devices, the fundamental component of LEDs. This technology is now used worldwide for the large-scale production of high-performance compound semiconductor heterojunction devices, for wireless and fiber communications systems, injection lasers for CD/DVD applications, lasers for optical communications, "high-brightness" LEDs, and the recently introduced blue and green LEDs and injection lasers based upon the III-V nitrides.
In addition, Dupuis' work resulted in the first demonstration of low-threshold, room-temperature operation of single-and multiple-quantum-well lasers grown by any materials technology, thus firmly establishing the MOCVD process as a materials technology for the growth of the next generation of compound semiconductor devices. Most of the lasers today, as seen in grocery store scanners and in CD and DVD players, are made using the MOCVD process, which Dupuis perfected.
During the White House ceremony, Georgia Tech physics alumnus, W. Jason Morgan, now on faculty at Princeton University, will receive the 2002 National Medal of Science for his theories that describe how land masses move, how volcanoes are formed and how many features of the land and sea take shape. The award recognizes Morgan for his work in pioneering two fundamental ideas - plate tectonics and mantle plumes.
The National Medal of Science honors individuals in a variety of fields for pioneering scientific research that has led to a better understanding of the world around us, as well as to the innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge. The National Science Foundation administers the award, established by Congress in 1959. When the President confers the awards, 409 distinguished scientists and engineers will have received the medal.
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