James Speck

James Speck

speck [at] mrl [dot] ucsb [dot] edu

Institute Role
Member of Lighting Solutions Group

Role in Affiliated Centers
Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors; Executive Committee Member of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Center; Steering Committee Member of the International Center for Materials Research; Executive Committee Member of the Center for Energy Efficient Materials

James Speck’s research on semiconductors emphasizes relationships between thin film electronic materials growth, microstructure and physical properties. Together with colleagues at the Center for Energy Efficient Materials, Speck researches group III nitrides as an enabling material in a new generation of high efficiency solar materials. His experimental work focuses on MOCVD (metal-organic chemical vapor deposition) or MBE (molecular beam epitaxy) growth of wide bandgap nitrides coupled with structural characterization by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy. Additional activities address growth, microstructure and defect reduction in highly misfitting thin film semiconductors and epitaxial films of oxides and ferroelectrics.


James S. Speck is a Professor in the Materials Department at the University of California Santa Barbara.  He received his B.S.M.E. degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1983 and his S.M. and Sc.D. in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 and 1989, respectively.  At UCSB, his early work focused on epitaxial oxide films on semiconductors, ferroelectric thin films, and strain relaxation in highly misfitting epitaxial systems.  He has worked extensively on the materials science of GaN and related alloys.  Major aspects of his work on nitrides include elucidating basic growth modes and defect generation, the development of MBE growth of GaN, and the development of nonpolar and semipolar GaN.  Speck received the Quantum Device Award from the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors in 2007, he was named an inaugural MRS Fellow in 2008, and received the JJAP Best Paper Award in 2008.  In 2009 he received became an APS Fellow.  In 2010 he will receive the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award for his work on nonpolar and semipolar GaN-based materials and devices.  In 2007, Speck and his longtime collaborators founded Santa Barbara-based start-up companies Kaai and Soraa to commercialize their work on nonpolar and semipolar nitrides.  Speck has over 550 publications in the referred archival literature.

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