Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Cory-Soda Hall Logo
photo of Eli Yablonovitch
   

Eli Yablonovitch

Professor

Research Areas

  • Optoelectronics Research Group, high speed optical communications, photonic crystals at optical and microwave frequencies, the milli-Volt switch, optical antennas and solar cells.
  • Physical Electronics (PHY)

Research Centers

Biography

Eli Yablonovitch is the Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center based at Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1972. He worked for two years at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and then became a professor of Applied Physics at Harvard. In 1979 he joined Exxon to do research on photovoltaic solar energy. Then in 1984, he joined Bell Communications Research, where he was a Distinguished Member of Staff, and also Director of Solid-State Physics Research. In 1992 he joined the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was the Northrop-Grumman Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering. Then in 2007 he became Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley, where he holds the James & Katherine Lau Chair in Engineering.

Prof. Yablonovitch is a Fellow of the IEEE, the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society. He is a Life Member of Eta Kappa Nu, and is elected as a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London. He has been awarded the Harvey Prize (Israel), the IEEE Photonics Award, the IET Mountbatten Medal (UK), the Julius Springer Prize, the R.W. Wood Prize, the W. Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, and the Adolf Lomb Medal. He also has an honorary Ph.D. from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and from the Hong Kong Univ. of Science & Technology.

In his photovoltaic research, Yablonovitch introduced the 4(n squared) light-trapping factor that is in worldwide use for almost all commercial solar panels. This factor increased the theoretical limits and practical efficiency of solar cells. 4n2 is based on statistical mechanics, and is sometimes called the “Yablonovitch Limit”.

Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass. Almost all semiconductor lasers use this concept, including DVD players, red laser pointers, and internet telecommunications. Nearly every click on the internet uses this idea.

Yablonovitch is regarded as a Father of the Photonic BandGap concept, and he coined the term "Photonic Crystal". The geometrical structure of the first experimentally realized Photonic bandgap, is sometimes called “Yablonovite”.

Selected Publications