BU Innovator of the Year: ENG’s Theodore Moustakas

Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, presents the Innovator of the Year Award to Theodore Moustakas. (Photo by Cydney Scott.)
Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, presents the Innovator of the Year Award to Theodore Moustakas. (Photo by Cydney Scott.)

Professor Theodore Moustakas (ECE, MSE, Physics) has won BU’s 2013 Innovator of the Year Award, recognizing a faculty member whose research and ideas have led to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.


Jean Morrison, BU provost and chief academic officer, presented the award to Moustakas on July 16 at Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll—the University’s annual networking event for those involved in university technology transfer in the Boston area.


Moustakas is the coinventor of the blue light-emitting diode (LED). His lab develops semiconductors for photonics and other applications. Moustakas is also the founder of RayVio Corp., a venture-backed company that makes ultraviolet LEDs, a compact, energy-efficient, durable, and environmentally friendly substitute for mercury lamps used in water purification and disinfection systems.


“Professor Moustakas is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufacturers of blue LEDs and lasers—Cree and Philips-LumiLeds in the United States and Nichia in Japan,” says Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include nine peer-reviewed papers published and five patent filings.”


The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes faculty members who have conducted peer-recognized world-class research and whose research projects show potential for commercialization.


Moustakas says he is honored to receive the award. “In a research university like ours there are many gifted and talented individuals who deserve such an award,” he says. “Through working in an interdisciplinary field like materials and device physics I have had the privilege to collaborate and benefit from many colleagues at BU as well as at other institutions. And I have been blessed to have mentored so many bright and talented young people over the last 26 years.”


Moustakas’ contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics in optoelectronic materials and devices. He is the coeditor of eight books and the author of chapters in nine books and more than 300 papers in technical journals and conference proceedings. He has been granted 25 US patents and several are pending in the fields of nitride semiconductors, amorphous silicon, and diamond materials. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1994 and of the Electrochemical Society in 1997. In 2003 he received an honorary degree from Aristotle University for outstanding contributions to research and teaching. In 2010 he was awarded the MBE Innovator Award and in 2011 was chosen for ENG’s Distinguished Scholar Award. He is also a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.


“Ted has been a prolific academic entrepreneur, but this past year was especially productive with the launch of RayVio,” says Vinit Nijhawan, managing director of the office of Technology Development, which sponsors the award.