Nick Holonyak

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Nick Holonyak
Nick Holonyak Jr.jpg
Holonyak in 2002
Born(1928-11-03)November 3, 1928
DiedSeptember 18, 2022(2022-09-18) (aged 93)
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; BS 1950, MS 1951, PhD 1954
Known forInventing red LED
Awards
Scientific career
FieldsElectrical engineering
ThesisEffect of Surface Conditions on Characteristics of Rectifier Junctions (1954)
Doctoral advisorJohn Bardeen

Nick Holonyak Jr. (/hʌlɒnjæk/ huh-LON-yak; November 3, 1928 – September 18, 2022) was an American engineer and educator. He is noted particularly for his 1962 invention and first demonstration of a semiconductor laser diode that emitted visible light. This device was the forerunner of the first generation of commercial light-emitting diodes (LEDs). He was then working at a General Electric Company research laboratory near Syracuse, New York. He left General Electric in 1963 and returned to his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he later became John Bardeen Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Nick Holonyak Jr. was born in Zeigler, Illinois, on November 3, 1928.[3] His parents were Rusyn immigrants.[2][4] His father worked in a coal mine. Holonyak was the first member of his family to receive any type of formal schooling.[5] He once worked 30 straight hours on the Illinois Central Railroad before realizing that a life of hard labor was not what he wanted and he would prefer to go to school instead. According to a Chicago Tribune article in 2003, "The cheap and reliable semiconductor lasers critical to DVD players, bar code readers and scores of other devices owe their existence in some small way to the demanding workload thrust upon Downstate railroad crews decades ago."[6]

Holonyak earned his bachelor's (1950), master's (1951), and doctoral (1954) degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Holonyak was John Bardeen's first doctoral student there. In 1954, Holonyak went to Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he worked on silicon-based electronic devices. From 1955 to 1957 he served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps.[5][7]

From 1957 to 1963 he was a scientist at the General Electric Company's Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory near Syracuse, New York, where he invented, fabricated, and demonstrated the first visible light laser diode on October 9, 1962.[8][9][10]

University of Illinois[edit]

In 1963, Holonyak became a professor at the University of Illinois.[11][12] In 1993, he was named the John Bardeen Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[13] He investigated methods for manufacturing quantum dot lasers. He and Dr. Milton Feng ran a transistor laser research center at the University funded by $6.5 million from the United States Department of Defense through DARPA.[14] Holonyak retired in 2013.[15]

Ten of his 60 former doctoral students have developed new uses for LED technology at Philips Lumileds Lighting Company in Silicon Valley.[10]

Inventions[edit]

Site for Holonyak's 1962 demonstration of a visible light-emitting diode.

In addition to introducing the III-V alloy LED, Holonyak held 41 patents. His other inventions include the red-light semiconductor laser, usually called the laser diode (used in CD and DVD players and cell phones) and the shorted emitter p-n-p-n switch (used in light dimmers and power tools).[5]

In 2006, the American Institute of Physics decided on the five most important papers in each of its journals since it was founded 75 years ago. Two of these five papers, in the journal Applied Physics Letters, were co-authored by Holonyak. The first one, co-authored with S. F. Bevacqua in 1962, announced the creation of the first visible-light laser diode. The second, co-authored primarily with Milton Feng in 2005, announced the creation of a transistor laser that can operate at room temperatures. Holonyak predicted that his LEDs would replace the incandescent light bulb of Thomas Edison in the February 1963 issue of Reader's Digest, and as LEDs improve in quality and efficiency they are gradually replacing incandescents as the bulb of choice.[14]

Awards and honors[edit]

Holonyak was presented awards by George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Emperor Akihito of Japan, and Vladimir Putin.[5] He also received the Global Energy International Prize, the National Medal of Technology, the Order of Lincoln Medallion, and the 2004 Lemelson–MIT Prize, also worth $500,000.[14] Many colleagues expressed their belief that he deserved the Nobel Prize for his invention of the GaAsP laser and LED. On this subject, Holonyak said, "It's ridiculous to think that somebody owes you something. We're lucky to be alive, when it comes down to it."[5] In October 2014, Holonyak reversed his stance by stating "I find this one insulting" in reaction to news that the inventors of the blue LED were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, instead of his fellow LED researchers.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Holonyak and his wife, Katherine, were married for over 60 years. He died on September 18, 2022, in Urbana, Illinois, at the age of 93.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schubert, E. Fred (2003). Light-Emitting Diodes. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780511078613. OCLC 57545196. The beginning of visible LEDs dates back to the year 1962 when Holonyak and Bevacqua (1962) reported on the emission of coherent visible light emission from GaAsP junctions in the first volume of Applied Physics Letters. Although the emission of coherent light was only observed at low temperatures, the devices worked as LEDs and emitted visible light even at room temperature. This publication marks the beginning of viable p-n junction LEDs emitting in the visible wavelength range.
  2. ^ a b "Nick Holonyak". www.aip.org. February 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 12, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Nick Holonyak". www.pbs.org. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  4. ^ "Illinois Distributed Museum – Nick Holonyak, Jr". IDM Illinois Distributed Museum. IDM. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "After Glow". Illinois Alumni Magazine. May–June 2007.
  6. ^ Von, Jon (January 25, 2003). "Nice Guys Can Finish As Geniuses at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Ahlberg Touchstone, Liz (September 18, 2022). "Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, dies". University of Illinois News Bureau. Archived from the original on September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  8. ^ "Nick Holonyak, Jr. – Biography". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Kubetz, Rick (May 4, 2012). "Nick Holonyak, Jr., six decades in pursuit of light". University of Illinois. Archived from the original on October 21, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Wolinsky, Howard (February 5, 2005). "U. of I.'s Holonyak out to take some of Edison's luster". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Damery, Jonathan (August 5, 2013). "Holonyak retires after 50 years in ECE". University of Illinois. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Grainger Engineering Office of Marketing and Communications (December 22, 2018). "Illinois faculty, former students honor Nick Holonyak legacy in celebration of his birthday | Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab | UIUC". Mntl.illinois.edu. Archived from the original on April 22, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "Nick Holonyak | Lemelson". Lemelson.mit.edu. November 3, 1928. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d Port, Otis (May 23, 2005). "Nick Holonyak: He Saw The Lights". Business Week. Archived from the original on June 27, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "LED inventor retires from U. of Illinois". Pjstar.com. Archived from the original on September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  16. ^ Mercer, David (October 8, 2014). "LED Inventor Insulted, Feels Work Bypassed By Nobel". Electrical Engineering News and Products. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  17. ^ Nick Holonyak was elected in 1973 Archived April 4, 2019, at the Wayback Machine as a member of National Academy of Engineering in Electronics, Communication & Information Systems Engineering and Materials Engineering for contributions to development of semiconductor controlled rectifiers, light emitting diodes and diode laser.
  18. ^ "5 Jul 1975, Page 13 – The Edwardsville Intelligencer at". Newspapers.com. July 5, 1975. Archived from the original on September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  19. ^ "NAS Member Profile of Nick Holonyak". Nasonline.org. June 10, 2021. Archived from the original on April 7, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  20. ^ "Charles Hard Townes Award". Osa.org. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Recipient list of NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science winners". Archived from the original on January 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "Frederic Ives Medal". Osa.org. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  23. ^ "Holonyak to Receive Top IEEE Medal". Physics Today. 56 (3): 92. March 1, 2003. Bibcode:2003PhT....56T..92.. doi:10.1063/1.1570787. Archived from the original on September 19, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022 – via physicstoday.scitation.org (Atypon).
  24. ^ "Laureates by Year". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  25. ^ "Illinois physicists produce two most important scientific papers". phys.org. June 5, 2006.
  26. ^ Communications, Grainger Engineering Office of Marketing and. "Holonyak historical marker unveiled". ece.illinois.edu. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  27. ^ "News | Engineering at Illinois | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign". Archived from the original on March 14, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2008.
  28. ^ Ainsworth, Susan J. (January 7, 2015). "Pioneers Of Light-Emitting Diodes Honored With 2015 Charles Stark Draper Prize". cen.acs.org. Chemical & Engineering News. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  29. ^ Sommerhof, John (July 9, 2018). "Glen Carbon names first honorary street designation". Thetelegraph.com. Archived from the original on July 9, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  30. ^ Touchstone, Liz Ahlberg (February 2, 2021). "Nick Holonyak Jr., pioneer of LED lighting, awarded Queen Elizabeth Prize". news.illinois.edu. Archived from the original on February 7, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

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