Steve DenBaars Bio

Dr. Steven P. DenBaars is an Professor of Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as Co-Director of the Solid-State Lighting Center at the University of California Santa Barbara. From 1988-1991 Prof. DenBaars was a member of the technical staff at Hewlett-Packard’s Opkoelectroncis Division involved in the growth and fabrication of visible LEDs.

In 1991, Professor DenBaars joined the University of California, Santa Barbara faculty. Since becoming a part of the university, Prof. DenBaars has helped pioneer the field of Solid-State Lighting, establishing and improving Gallium Nitride materials and devices used for lighting and display. His specific research interests include growth of wide-bandgap semiconductors (GaN based), and their application to Blue LEDs and lasers and high power electronic devices. This research has lead to the first US university demonstration of a Blue GaN laser diode. In 2002, Steven DenBaars, Shuji Nakamura, Jim Speck and Umesh Mishra collaborated to establish the Solid State Lighting and Display Center which evolved into the Solid State Lighting and Energy center in 2007. Prof. DenBaars is the Co-Founder of three University start-up companies focused on the recruitment of graduate students upon the completion of their programs.

Among other prestigious awards, Prof. DenBaars is the recipient of the National Scientist Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator award in 1994 and received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Fellow Award in 2005 and the IEEE Aron Kressel Award in 2010. Prof. DenBaars in a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He has over 800+ publications and over 63 patents filed.

Research Areas:

  • Electronic Materials growth and fabrication of new semiconductor devices.
  • MOCVD of III-V compound semiconductor materials and devices (InP, GaN).
  • Special interests include the effect of materials properties on device performance Blue LEDs, Blue Lasers, and High Temperature, High Power Electronic Devices.

Available Technologies Developed by Professor DenBaars:


  • 2010 Aron Kressel Award, IEEE Photonics Society
  • 2008 Japanese Science of Applied Physics (JSAP) Outstanding Paper Award for “Demonstration of Nonpolar m-Plane InGaN/GaN Laser Diode
  • 2007 Viterbi Award, USC Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Southern California
  • 2005 IEEE Fellow
  • 2005 Mitsubishi Chemical Chair in Solid State Lighting and Displays
  • 2004 Chairman, MOVPE Conference
  • 2000-present Scientific Advisor, Cree Lighting Co.,
  • 1998 Young Scientist Award, Intl. Symposium on Compound Semiconductors
  • 1997 Chairman, LEOS Topical Conference on Gallium Nitride
  • 1997 Co-Founder, Nitres Inc.
  • 1997 Co-Organizer, Fall MRS Symposium on GaN Materials
  • 1996 VBL Visiting Professor Fellowship, Nagoya University
  • 1994-99 NSF Young Investigator Award
  • 1987 Best Paper Award, Electronic Materials Conference

For more information on Professor DenBaars’ accomplishments and research click here