Yale Bulletin and Calendar

May 24, 2002Volume 30, Number 30Two-Week Issue

Jerry M. Woodall

Yale scientist Jerry Woodall wins
National Medal of Technology

President George W. Bush awarded the National Medal of Technology to Jerry M. Woodall, the C. Baldwin Sawyer Professor of Electrical Engineering -- making him the first Yale professor to receive the prestigious award.

Woodall has done pioneering research on compound semiconductor materials and devices over a career spanning four decades. Fully half of the entire world's annual sales of compound semiconductor components are made possible by his research legacy. He invented many electronic and optoelectronic devices commonly seen in modern life, including the red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used in indicators and stoplights; the infrared LEDs used in CD players, TV remote controls and computer networks; the high-speed transistors used in cell phones and satellites; and high-efficiency solar cells used to power satellites.

Woodall was cited for the invention and development of technologically and commercially important compound semiconductor heterojunction materials, processes and related devices, such as LEDs, lasers, ultra-fast transistors and solar cells.

"I am delighted and honored at becoming a National Medal of Technology laureate," said Woodall, who joined the Yale faculty in 1999. "It is truly a seminal marker for my career at this point. Now that my work has been honored in this way, I look forward to being a role model and mentor to other aspiring National Medal of Technology laureates."

Woodall added, "I am happy that my work has had a profound positive impact on both the quality of life on the planet and that it has recently enabled broad band communication technology to move forward."

President Richard C. Levin said, "This award is a true reflection of the important work Professor Woodall has done. It is also a reflection of the high caliber of faculty Yale Engineering is attracting."

Woodall spent most of the early and mid parts of his career at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where he rose to the rank of IBM Fellow. He built the first high-purity single crystals of gallium arsenide, enabling the first definitive measurements of carrier velocity versus electric field relationships, as well as gallium arsenide crystals used for the first non-supercooled injection laser. He and Hans Rupprecht pioneered the liquid-phase epitaxial growth of high efficiency infrared LEDs, and gallium aluminum arsenide (GaAlAs), which led to his most important research contribution so far: the first
working gallium aluminum arsenide/gallium arsenide heterojunction, the interface between two different semiconductor materials. This remains the world's most important compound semiconductor heterojunction.

Woodall then invented and patented many important commercial high-speed electronic and photonic devices, which depend on the heterojunction, including bright-red LEDs and the two classes of ultra-fast transistors, called the heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) and pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility transistor (pHEMT). Many new areas of solid-state physics have evolved and been realized as a result of his work, including the semiconductor superlattice, low-dimensional systems, mesoscopics and resonant tunneling.

"This National Medal of Technology is richly deserved by one of our most innovative engineers whose work has had worldwide impact," said Dean of Engineering Paul Fleury. "We're doubly delighted that this award comes during Yale Engineering's Sesquicentennial Celebration and that the winner of this medal is in engineering."

Woodall cofounded LightSpin Technologies, Inc., a high-technology startup company, and serves as its chief science officer. From 1993 through 1999, he held the Charles William Harrison Distinguished Professorship of Microelectronics at Purdue University. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. in metallurgy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Woodall was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1989 and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), The Electrochemical Society (ECS) and the AVS Science and Technology Society. He has published over 300 articles and been issued 67 U.S. patents. He has received numerous awards, including five major IBM Research Division Awards, 30 IBM Invention Achievement Awards, the IEEE Jack A. Morton Award, the ECS Solid State Science and Technology Award, the Heinrich Welker Gold Medal, the AVS Medard Welch Award, the Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members' Award, the American Society for Engineering Education's General Electric Senior Research Award, the ECS Edward Goodrich Acheson Award and an IEEE Third Millennium Award, among others.


Yale strengthens ties with Mexico during Levin's visit

Mexican doctoral students at Yale to receive added financial support

Yale research on Maya murals presented to Mexican anthropologists

Yale scientist Jerry Woodall wins National Medal of Technology

Carm Cozza named to College Football Hall of Fame

Yale physicist Devoret helps create 'artificial atom'


Stuart Schwartz to be new master of Ezra Stiles College

IN FOCUS: Yale University Health Services Center

Research offers new proof that babies can count

São Toméan president and new World Fellow visit campus

Joan Steitz honored for her work with 'snurps'

Alumni reunions feature talks, tours, music and more

Works by '1952's Authors and Artists' to be displayed

Graduate School will honor three faculty members for their mentoring

Library exhibit marks milestone for monarchy

Paintings by award-winning artist on view at Slifka Center

Graduate students get practical advice on interview etiquette

Longtime city resident named head of University Properties

Dwight Hall Management Fellows to oversee center's fundraising

Art gallery to showcase 'outsider art' at special fundraising event . . .

Tennis coach Alex Dorato is honored as 2001 New England Coach of the Year

City gallery features national exhibition juried by Yale sculptor

Commencement Information

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