Russell Dean Dupuis, Ph.D.
Georgia Institute of Technology
So many of the electronics that we take for granted in everyday life are here because of a process first developed by Russell Dupuis.
Smartphones, laser pointers, solar cells, Blu-Ray players – these are just a few products that have compound semiconductors based on atomic elements in the III and V areas of the Periodic Table of Elements. In 1976, Dupuis made a breakthrough in a process to create semiconductor devices using these elements – devices that operate at high frequencies or emit light with great efficiency.
The process is metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, or MOCVD, and it works by combining some of those atomic elements with molecules of organic gas and flowing the mixture over a hot semiconductor wafer. When repeated, the process grows layer after layer of crystals that can have any number of electrical properties, depending on the elements used.
MOCVD was already a patented concept in the 1970s, but Dupuis was the first to show that it could work. While a member of the technical staff at Rockwell International in Anaheim, he built a MOCVD reactor out of available spare parts and used it to grow a crystallized semiconductor for a solar cell. He succeeded – the cell had working electrical properties. He then built a second reactor and used it to build and test other devices.
A year later, Dupuis teamed up with his mentor, Nick Holonyak, to develop the process further. Holonyak was already famous for having built the first visible LED, or light-emitting diode, in 1962. Together, they demonstrated that MOCVD was better than another emerging process, molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), for growing compound semiconductors with very complex structures.
That demonstration put MOCVD on the path as the preferred process for manufacturing semiconductor devices, and today, millions of these devices are made around the world every day using MOCVD.
Specific materials of interest under current investigation are:
(1) the "wide-bandgap" III-nitride alloys of InAlGaN;
(2) the "long-wavelength" alloys of InAlGaAsP, and InGaAsSb;
(3) the visible light-emitting materials containing InAlGaP alloys; and
(4) nanostructures composed of III-V compound semiconductor materials.
His lab explores the the interactions of the charge carriers (electrons and holes) in "zero-dimensional" quantum dots and the electronic states in "two-dimensional" quantum well nanostructures.This is key to developing advanced electronic materials and devices for future-generation commercial and defense applications.
Dr. Dupuis' team is developing "wide bandgap" III-V compound semiconductors and they are working to improve materials quality and device performance. The lab has several worldwide device records at this time and seeks to remain at the leading edge of this important new field.
Dr. Dupuis came to Georgia because of the excellence of the faculty, facilities, infrastructure and administrative management at Georgia Tech and the opportunity to build a strong area of research at one of the best engineering universities in the world. The support of the Georgia Research Alliance was a critically important element in his decision to come to Georgia Tech. Dr. Dupius helped to create the new Nanotechnology Research Center at Georgia Tech and to develop new interdisciplinary research opportunities in the nano-bio-electronics fields.