Materials Science Research Lecture
Abstract: The development of wide bandgap group-III nitrides (AlN, GaN, and InN) thin films and device structures by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy, is an area of continuing research that is aided by the extensive use of in situ optical characterization techniques. These compound semiconductors were key to the realization of efficient light emitters (visible and UV), robust high frequency power electronics and other disruptive technologies that now have become truly ubiquitous. In order to shape next generation technologies, innovative research must be undertaken to extend the properties of such materials beyond what is currently possible. This "extension" may be realized through extreme confinement of these materials in two-dimension, leading to massive changes in electronic bandstructure with as-yet unpredicted properties. To accomplish this, an alternative growth scheme was developed to realize two-dimensional forms of conventional bulk semiconductors, utilizing the mechanism of adatom intercalation from the vapor phase in the growth environment into the interfacial region of graphene formed on SiC. This synthesis process, referred to as "Migration Enhanced Encapsulated Growth" (MEEG), establishes an entirely new platform to realize tunable optoelectronics that may frame next-generation technology.
More About the Speaker: Dr. Zakaria (Zak) Al Balushi is the Resnick Prize Postdoctoral Fellow in Applied Physics and Materials Science and an NSF-AGEP Postdoc Fellow in Prof. Harry A. Atwater's Group at Caltech. Prior to joining the Atwater group, Dr. Al Balushi received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering (2017) under the supervision of Prof. Joan M. Redwing and Prof. Joshua A. Robinson, his M.S. (2012) and B.S. (2011) in Engineering Science under the supervision of Prof. Stephen J. Fonash all from The Pennsylvania State University. During his Ph.D. graduate work, Dr. Al Balushi focused on MOCVD growth, characterization and integration of electronic and photonic materials from thin films to atomically thin layers. At Caltech, his research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of two-dimensional and layered materials in order to design new heterojunctions for nanophotonic and optoelectronic devices. Dr. Al Balushi earned multiple awards during his graduate student career, including the Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award (2017), the European Union Graphene Flagship - Best Poster Award (2017), the Electrochemical Society Summer Fellowship (2017), the Caltech Young Investigator Lecturer in Engineering and Applied Science, Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award and Distinguished Doctoral Medal (2017), The Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Award (2016), the International Union of Crystallography Young Scientist Award (2016), the 16th International Summer School on Crystal Growth Excellent Poster Award (2016), the Robert E. Newnham Award for Research Excellence (2016), the 3M Graduate Fellowship in Materials Science and Engineering (2015-2017) and the PCSI Young Scientist Award (2015). Dr. Al Balushi was also an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Scholar (2014-2017) and a Bunton-Waller Graduate Fellow at Penn State.