James Speck



2518 Engineering Science Building II

University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5080

IEE Research Areas: 


Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors, Director
Solid State Lighting & Energy Center, Executive Committee Member
International Center for Materials Research, Member
Center for Energy Efficient Materials, Member


2008 JJAP Best Paper Award
2007 Quantum Device Award, International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors
2008 MRS Fellow
2009 APS Fellow
2010 IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award

Research Description: 

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.


BS: Metallurgical Engineering, University of Michigan (1983)
MS: Materials Science, MIT (1985)
PhD: Materials Science, MIT (1989)


James S. Speck is a Professor in the Materials Department at the University of California Santa Barbara.  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. 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.