The Fascinating Physics And Applications Of Hydrogen In Materials


Date Thursday April 17th 2003
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Studies of hydrogen in solids are essential to support a variety of technological developments. For instance, in order for hydrogen to become the “fuel of the future” significant improvements in hydrogen storage systems and fuel cells are required. Hydrogen also strongly affects the properties of electronic materials, and careful control of hydrogen during semiconductor growth and processing is needed to tailor the electrical behavior. First-principles calculations have allowed us to investigate the many facets of hydrogen’s interactions with materials. A systematic study of hydrogen in a wide range of hosts has revealed the existence of a universal alignment for the electronic level of hydrogen in semiconductors, insulators, and even aqueous solutions. The alignment allows predicting the electrical activity of hydrogen in any host material, and shows that the physics of hydrogen turns out to be unexpectedly connected to other important problems in materials physics and electrochemistry.


Chris G. Van de Walle is a Principal Scientist in the Electronic Materials Laboratory at PARC. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1986 from Stanford University. Before joining Xerox PARC in 1991, he was a postdoctoral scientist at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York (1986-1988), a Senior Member of Research Staff at Philips Laboratories in Briarcliff Manor, New York (1988-1991), and an Adjunct Professor of Materials Science at Columbia University (1991). Chris develops and employs first-principles techniques to model the structure and behavior of materials. He has performed extensive studies of semiconductor interfaces (including the development of a widely used model for band offsets) and of defects and impurities in semiconductors, with particular emphasis on doping problems. Recently, he has been focusing his attention on novel materials for electronics and optoelectronics, and on the behavior of hydrogen in a wide range of materials. Chris has published over 180 research papers and has nine patents. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a Senior Member of the IEEE. Chris is the recipient of a PARC Excellence Award (2003), the David Adler Award from the American Physical Society (2002), and a Humboldt Award for Senior US Scientist (1998). He has chaired three conferences, and will be Program Chair for the 27th International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors in 2004.

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