- 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)
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 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 Isaac Newton Medal of the UK Institute of Physics, the Rank Prize (UK), the Harvey Prize (Israel), the IEEE Photonics Award, the IET Mountbatten Medal (UK), the Julius Springer Prize (Germany), 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, & the Hong Kong Univ. of Science & Technology, and is honorary Professor at Nanjing University.
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”. Based on his mantra “that a great solar cell needs to be a great LED”, his startup company Alta Devices has held the world record for solar cell efficiency since 2011, now 28.8%.
Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass. Today, almost all semiconductor lasers use this concept, including for optical telecommunications, for DVD players, and in the ubiquitous red laser pointers. With almost every human interaction with the internet, optical telecommunication occurs by strained semiconductor lasers.
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”.
- H. Fang, C. Battaglia, C. Carraro, S. Nemsak, B. Ozdol, J. S. Kang, H. A. Bechtel, S. B. Desai, F. Kronast, A. A. Unal, G. Conti, C. Conlon, G. K. Palsson, M. C. Martin, A. M. Minor, C. S. Fadley, E. Yablonovitch, R. Maboudian, and A. Javey, "Strong interlayer coupling in van der Waals heterostructures built from single-layer chalcogenides," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111, pp. 6198--6202, 2014.
- H. Fang, H. A. Bechtel, E. Plis, M. C. Martin, S. Krishna, E. Yablonovitch, and A. Javey, "Quantum of optical absorption in two-dimensional semiconductors," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 29, pp. 11688--11691, 2013.
- E. Yablonovitch, O. Miller, and S. Kurtz, "Strong Internal and External Luminescence as Solar Cells Approach the Shockley–Queisser Limit," IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 303-311, July 2012.
- M. Staffaroni, J. Conway, S. Vedantam, J. Tang, and E. Yablonovitch, "“Circuit Analysis in Metal-Optics”,," Photonics and Nanostructures, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 166–176, Jan. 2012.
- E. Yablonovitch, "Photonic Crystals: Semiconductors of Light," Scientific American, vol. 285, no. 6, pp. 47-55, Dec. 2001.