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Professor Diana Huffaker joins University to help establish new world class laboratory

26 May 2015

Professor Diana Huffaker

Professor Diana Huffaker, currently Director of the Integrated NanoMaterials Core Lab, California NanoSystems Institute, and Director of NSF IGERT Clean Energy for Green Industry at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), has been appointed to lead the development of the new Compound Semiconductor Foundation which is a joint Engineering and Physics initiative with local semiconductor technology company IQE.

Her research interests cover nanodot-based optoelectronic devices including III-V/Si photonics, lasers, single-photon emitters, III-V nanotransistors, solar cells and electronic characterization of biomaterials. Her current research projects focus on device development, crystal growth (MBE and MOCVD) and characterization of patterned and self-assembled quantum dots in compound III-(As, P, N, Sb), modeling of self-assembled processes along with electronic characterization of biomaterials.

Compound semiconductor technology lies behind devices such as smart phones and tablets, and has numerous applications in sectors such as healthcare, biotechnology and mass communications.

Professor Huffaker will establish a world-class research lab with a focus on fundamental science and device development.  It will build on existing strengths at Cardiff University in the Schools of Engineering and Physics and Astronomy, developing the research areas of optoelectronics, semiconductor devices and materials.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: "Professor Diana Huffaker is a truly outstanding researcher, with a record of research excellence in areas of global impact and strategic importance not only to Cardiff University, but also to Wales. Professor Huffaker and her team will help drive economic growth and innovation. Securing such an eminent scientist will put Wales firmly on the map as a UK hub for semiconductor technology research and innovation."

Professor Huffaker was looking forward to taking up her appointment, saying, "The Ser Cymru Chair in Advanced Engineering and Materials is a unique opportunity to build academic excellence around existing areas of strength within the College of Physical Sciences & Engineering through leveraging partnerships with IQE and small companies within Wales. My research vision is to bring the promise of nanoscale physics to collect and transmit information using light with exquisite speed and sensitivity.  With the Ser Cymru investment, I shall build an extensive user facility for materials and nanostructure synthesis not currently available in UK.  To meet the needs of industry and academic collaborators, this laboratory will feature nimble flexibility to try new ideas, new material systems and growth methodology."

Professor Huffaker is the fourth appointment under the Welsh Government's Sêr Cymru programme, a five-year initiative to attract and support world-class scientific researchers and their teams to Wales.  Minister for Economy and Science, Edwina Hart said: "I am very pleased to welcome Professor Huffaker to Wales. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to lead the semiconductor research unit at Cardiff. Professor Huffaker is the fourth world class researcher brought to Wales under our Sêr Cymru programme, which is significantly boosting our country's research capability.  A strong science research capability is vital to improving our economic wellbeing and securing a prosperous, healthy and sustainable future for Wales."

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