Election to the Academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."
DenBaars, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials, was recognized for his contributions to gallium nitride-based materials and devices for solid state lighting and displays.
"I am absolutely thrilled by this news, which not only recognizes Professor DenBaars's pioneering research in the area of solid state lighting and displays, but also his commitment to applying this research in order to improve the lives of people around the world," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Election by one's peers to the National Academy of Engineering is a very important and meaningful affirmation of years of innovation, creativity, and hard work. Our entire campus community proudly congratulates Professor DenBaars on his outstanding achievement."
DenBaars, who joined the UCSB faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor of materials, is the Mitsubishi Chemical Professor in Solid State Lighting and Displays. He is also co-director of the campus's Solid-State Lighting and Energy Center. The author or co-author of more than 600 technical publications, his specific research interests include the growth of wide-bandgap semiconductors (GaN based), and their applications to Blue LED's and lasers, and high-power electronic devices. This research has led to the first U.S. university demonstration of a Blue GaN laser diode.
DenBaars received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1994, and the IEEE Fellow award in 2005. He has made over 250 invited conference presentations and has been awarded over 30 patents. His election brings to 25 the number of current UCSB faculty members in the National Academy of Engineering.
Before joining the faculty at UCSB, DenBaars was a member of the technical staff at Hewlett-Packard's Optoelectronics Division, involved in the growth and fabrication of visible LED's. He is currently a scientific advisor for Cree Lighting Company. Among his many honors and awards are the 2010 Aron Kressel Award from the IEEE Photonics Society, the 2008 Japanese Science of Applied Physics Outstanding Paper Award, and the 2007 Viterbi Award and Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Southern California.