Prof Sir Colin Humphreys
CBE, FREng, FRS
My research is broad and covers three main areas: gallium nitride materials and devices; advanced electron microscopy; and high-temperature aerospace materials.
Gallium-nitride materials and devices
Gallium nitride (GaN) is probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon. It emits brilliant light as well as being a key material for next-generation transistors. The Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride in the Department has world-class growth and characterization facilities. On the same site we have a six-wafer MOCVD growth system, plus a range of world-class characterization equipment, including advanced electron microscopy and analysis, high-resolution X-ray diffraction, atomic-force microscopy, photoluminescence mapping, etc. My group of about 20 works at the cutting edge of GaN research worldwide. Our research goes from fundamental studies through to applications in LEDs and lasers, including next-generation solid-state lighting and UV LEDs for purifying water in the developing world.
Advanced electron microscopy and analysis
We are developing and applying a range of advanced electron microscopy techniques. For example, we have pioneered energy-filtered secondary-electron imaging in scanning electron microscopy for the mapping of dopants in silicon and other semiconductor devices. We are applying high-resolution electron microscopy, electron-energy-loss spectroscopy and electron holography to gallium nitride based structures in particular. An aberration-corrected and monochromated electron microscope will shortly be delivered, which together with a new dual-beam focused-ion-beam instrument will keep electron microscopy at Cambridge as a world-class centre (see www.msm.cam.ac.uk/hrem).
High-temperature aerospace materials
The Department contains the Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership in Advanced Materials. We are designing and developing higher-temperature advanced alloys that will improve the efficiency of gas-turbine engines, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions.