Moustakas Named Distinguished Professor of Photonics and Optoelectronics

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Holds ENG’s First Endowed Professorship

By Mark Dwortzan

Professor Theodore Moustakas (ECE, MSE)
Professor Theodore Moustakas (ECE, MSE, Physics)

Boston University Provost Jean Morrison has named Professor Theodore Moustakas (ECE, MSE, Physics) as the inaugural Distinguished Professor of Photonics and Optoelectronics, the College of Engineering’s first fully funded, named endowed professorship. Intended to honor and support a BU faculty member with outstanding achievements in research, teaching and service in the fields of photonics and optoelectronics, the professorship will be jointly funded by the College of Engineering, the Boston University Office of the Provost, and the BU Photonics Center.

Upon Moustakas’ retirement, the professorship will be renamed as the Theodore Moustakas Professorship of Photonics and Optoelectronics. The College has begun an unprecedented international search for a senior faculty member in this area of engineering science who will be selected as the inaugural holder of the Moustakas Professorship.

“I am very pleased that Boston University named me as the inaugural Distinguished Professor of Photonics and Optoelectronics,” said Moustakas, who has developed a wide range of  novel optoelectronic materials and devices ranging from diamond thin films to nitride semiconductors. “Photonics and optoelectronics form the backbone of today’s information technology, and the College of Engineering and the BU Photonics Center are world leaders in both domains. The establishment of this Distinguished Professorship will help the University in maintaining its leadership role in these areas.”

Since Moustakas joined BU in 1987, the primary focus of his research has been the development of nitride semiconductors for high-performance optoelectronic devices covering the spectral region from the deep ultraviolet (UV) to terahertz. Such devices include light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photo-detectors and solar cells. He is well known for the development of the nucleation steps for the growth of blue/green LEDs, widely used in flat panel displays on smartphones and televisions as well as for general illumination. He has also developed highly-efficient, deep UV LEDs, which are expected to provide environmentally friendly water and air purification as well as food sterilization and various medical applications.

Moustakas has had a significant impact on his field through 31 US patents, hundreds of invited talks, 350 journal papers, eight co-edited books and more than 11,000 citations in research literature. Selected as the 2010 Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) Innovator Award winner, he has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Electrochemical Society, National Academy of Inventors and IEEE. Intellectual property resulting from his work has been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufacturers and users of blue LEDs and lasers. Moustakas is the co-founder of RayVio Corp., a venture-backed company that makes UV LEDs.

A professor of electrical and computer engineering since 1987, professor of physics since 1991, and the current associate head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering, Moustakas took a leading role in propelling the ECE Department’s PhD program into the nation’s top-ranked programs, putting the MSE Division on the national map and helping establish BU as a national center of photonics research. He was the 2011 College of Engineering Distinguished Scholar Lecturer and winner of Boston University’s 2013 Innovator of the Year award.

Prior to joining the BU faculty, Moustakas worked at Harvard University as a research fellow and Exxon Research Corporate Research Laboratories as a senior scientist. He received a BS in Physics from Aristotle University (Greece) and a PhD in Solid State Science and Engineering from Columbia University.