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13 December 2016

Founding director of Lehigh's Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics elected fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Professor Nelson Tansu of Lehigh University's P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science has been named a fellow of the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI fellow status is the "highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society."

Tansu, Lehigh's Daniel E. '39 and Patricia M. Smith Endowed Chair Professor in Photonics and Nanoelectronics, is regarded as a leading researchers and inventors in semiconductor optoelectronics materials and devices.

"His inventions in the dilute nitride materials of GaInAsN paved the way for vastly improved lighting emitters and lasers in the infrared and telecommunication wavelengths," comments NAI fellow and National Academy of Engineering member Steven DenBaars, professor of Materials and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). "His innovations in the physics of low-dimensional semiconductor nanostructures, and in metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) of III-arsenide and III-V nitride semiconductor optoelectronics devices, are world-class," he adds.

"My entire professional career has been at Lehigh University, where great support and a team-centered environment allow creative and innovative groups of students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty to work together to produce some amazing results," says Tansu.

As founding director of Lehigh's Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics (CPN), Tansu leads a multi-disciplinary research team encompassing electrical engineers, material scientists, applied scientists and physicists to help develop materials, devices and device architectures.

"Our goal is to build a vertically integrated platform of faculty expertise and research capabilities to solve issues that require innovation in materials, devices, systems, and computational aspects," says Tansu. "This integration enables our faculty and students to work on advancing the frontiers of science and technology, with impact in sustainable and energy technologies, healthcare and biotechnologies, communications, and sensors."

Tansu's work has been published in more than 114 refereed journal and 230+ conference publications, and he currently holds 16 US patents, including seven that are licensed and/or used in industry. He has served as a panelist for the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DoE), and other agencies in the USA and abroad. His work has been funded by the NSF, DoE, DARPA, Department of Defense (DoD), and the State of Pennsylvania.

At Lehigh, Tansu targets collaboration opportunities at the intersection of disciplines. He has worked with chemical engineers, material scientists, mechanical engineers, physicists, chemists, applied physicists, and other electrical engineers. For example, a recent chance encounter with Brandon Krick (assistant professor of mechanical engineering) led to research into the mechanical durability of gallium nitride (GaN), which his lab has spent time exploring. Another recent partnership with new Lehigh associate professor Jonathan Wierer is yielding insight into improving the efficiency of solid-state lighting by using nanostructure lasers.

"Lehigh's research environment is purpose-built to foster interdisciplinary team science," comments Tansu. "Innovation is often found where disciplines intersect—as are the really fascinating research problems… We build integrated teams that explore larger, more complex problems in a manner that allows us to develop more impactful solutions," he adds.

PhDs minted in Tansu's lab have gone on to technical leadership roles in industry at places like Philips, Apple, Intel, Cree and Veeco, while other graduates have found faculty roles at schools such as Case Western Reserve University, University of Tulsa, Rochester Institute of Technology, Clarkson University, and KAUST (Saudi Arabia).

The Boy Who Loved to Read

In Summer 2015, Tansu shared his life story on Kick Andy, the top-rated TV talk show in his native Indonesia. Later that year, that story became an inspirational children's book through 'Nelson: The Boy Who Loved to Read' by author Adela Gozali Yose.

The book details Nelson's early life. At the age of 17 he travelled to the USA to attend The University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees in applied physics and engineering.

Tansu joined the faculty of Lehigh University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at age 25. Eleven years later, in 2014 he was named as Lehigh's Daniel E. '39 and Patricia M. Smith Endowed Chair Professor and director of the Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics.

In late 2015, Indonesia's largest book publisher and distributor Gramedia released an English version of the book. The Indonesian version of the book ranked as one of the bestsellers in the 'children's educational' category.

The book was selected as the highlighted children's book at this year's Indonesian International Book Fair, and as one of the books representing Indonesia in the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. Tansu says the goal is to highlight the book's central message about the importance of education — and of persistence in pursuing one's goals.

The NAI

The 2016 NAI fellows were evaluated by a selection committee that included 19 members, comprising NAI fellows, recipients of US National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of University Technology Managers, and other prominent organizations.

The 2016 fellows will be inducted on 6 April 2017, as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston, MA.

Tags: GaN

Visit: www.academyofinventors.org

Visit: www.ece.lehigh.edu/~tansu

Visit: www.lehigh.edu/~incpn

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