AAAFM-Nakamura Award Winner Announced Professor Steven DenBaaars as recipient

We are excited to announce that the recipients of the 2021 AAAFM-Nakamura Award are Professor Steven DenBaars and Professor Omar M. Yaghi.  The AAAFM-Nakamura Award (named after the Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura) recognizes an accomplished scientist who has made significant contributions and whose work shows exceptional innovation in the field functional material. The awards will be presented at the 3rd AAAFM-UCLA Conference on Functional Materials(Virtually this year), which will be held in University California, Los Angeles, August 18-20, 2021

Steven DenBaars is awarded the AAAFM-Nakamura Award for his pioneering work in developing non-polar and semi-polar gallium nitride materials for energy efficient lighting, micro-LED displays, and non-polar and semi-polar laser diodes. Dr. Steven P. DenBaars is a Professor of Materials and Co-Director of the Solid-State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) at the University of California Santa Barbara. He obtained a Ph.D. Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1988, MS Materials Science in 1986, and BS in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, from the University of Arizona 1984. Dr. DenBaars started his 30 career in semiconductors at Hewlett-Packard in 1988, and joined UCSB in 1991.  In 2005 he was appointed the Mitsubishi Chemical Chair in Solid State Lighting and Displays. Professor DenBaars is well known for his pioneering work in developing gallium nitride materials for energy efficient lighting, micro-LED displays, power electronics, and non-polar and semi-polar laser diodes. Prof. DenBaars has been very active in entrepreneurship, having helped co-found several start-up companies in the field of photonics and electronics. In 1996 he Co-founded Nitres Inc. along with Dr. Umesh Mishra which was the first GaN LED start-up in US. Nitres was acquired by Cree Inc. in May 2000. In 2008 he Co-Founded Soraa Inc. along with Professor Nakamura and Speck to commercialize highly efficient LED lighting.  In 2013 he Co-Founded SLD Laser, along with Professor Nakamura, Dr. James Raring, and Dr. Paul Rudy to pioneer blue lasers and laser lighting products. Acting as the CEO and Chairman he helped build the company to over 150 employees before being acquired by Kyocera Corporation in 2021.  In 2014 he assisted Dr. Jeffry Shealy in the founding of Akoustis Technologies Inc. (AKTS) for commercialization of RF Filters, and he is currently on the Board of Directors. He received the IEEE Fellow award in 2005, the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award in 2010, elected member of the National Academy of Engineers 2012, Fellow of National Academy of Inventors in 2014, Spirit of Innovation Award from Pacific Coast Business Times 2021, and Quantum Device Award from ISCS 2021. He has authored or co-authored over 1080 technical publications, 450 conference presentations, and over 185 patents. He is a highly cited researcher, with an h-index of 140, and over 85,000 citations.

UCSB Press Release: