Lionel C. Kimerling


Thomas Lord Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Director, Microphotonics Center

Principal Investigator, Electronic Materials Group


Ph.D., Metallurgy, MIT, 1969
  S.B., Metallurgy, MIT, 1965

Prof. Kimerling's research has had fundamental impact on the understanding of the chemical and electrical properties of defects in semiconductors and in the use of this knowledge in materials processing and component reliability. His research teams have enabled long-lived telecommunications lasers, produced the first 1MB DRAM, developed semiconductor diagnostic methods such as DLTS, SEM-EBIC, and RF-PCD, and pioneered silicon microphotonics. His MIT research on silicon processing has addressed integrated circuit fabrication, microphotonic materials and devices, solar energy conversion and environmentally benign integrated circuit manufacturing. Among the achievements of this research are the creation of a process simulator for wafer contamination gettering; development of a new ultrasensitive measurement for silicon surface perfection; the discovery of a surface passivation method for the reduction of cleaning steps in manufacturing; and the development of in-situ diagnostic tools for wet chemical process control.

His group's microphotonics research has produced a series of first ever achievements with the goal of monolithic integration of optical interconnection with integrated microelectronic circuit chips. A few of the legendary results in this area include the optoelectronic physics and materials processing of rare earth-doped semiconductors culminating in the first room temperature operational, erbium-doped silicon light emitting diode; the monolithic integration of MOSFET driver circuitry with Si:Er LEDs and Si/SiO2 waveguides; the process development silicon optical waveguides to yield low loss microphotonic signal distribution; the fabrication and demonstration of the first waveguide-integrated microcavity resonators based on photonic crystal designs at a wavelength of 1.54 microns; the fabrication and demonstration of optical add/drop microphotonic circuits for high capacity WDM data distribution based on microring resonator filter junctions; and the process development and testing of high performance, heteroepitaxial Ge-on-Si photodetectors for microphotonic applications.

In addition to being the Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and the founding Director of the MIT Microphotonics Center, Dr. Kimerling has also served as Director of the MIT Materials Processing Center (1993-2008) and was Head of the Materials Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories when he joined the faculty of MIT as Professor in 1990. He has authored more than 350 technical articles and holds more than 50 patents. He leads the MIT-Industry team of the Communication Technology Roadmap.

Dr. Kimerling is the recipient of the 1995 Electronics Division Award of the Electrochemical Society, the 1996 MIT Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising, the 1997 Humboldt Senior Scientist Research Award and the 1999 John Bardeen Award of TMS. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the AAAS, TMS, MRS and the School of Engineering of the University of Tokyo.