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Professor Thompson and his students carry out research on thin films and nanostructures for use in micro- and nano-systems, especially electronic, electromechanical and electrochemical systems. His group carries out basic research on structure evolution during deposition and post-deposition processing of thin films. The latter includes research on templated solid-state dewetting of thin films and nanostructures, for development of new patterning methods and for basic studies of capillary-driven morphological evolution. Prof. Thompson's group also carries out research on the mechanisms of carbon nanotube growth and metal-catalyzed etching for creation of semiconductor nanowire arrays. Carbon nanotubes are also used in research on metal-air batteries and capacitive desalination devices, and nanowires are used in research on solid state supercapacitors. Thin film Li-ion microbatteries and thermogalvanic energy harvesting devices for applications in autonomous microsystems are also under investigation.
Widely recognized as pioneer in light emitters based on wide-bandgap semiconductors, Nakamura continues to focus on development of GaN thin film technology. Additional activities are directed towards growth of bulk GaN crystals with low defect density, for use as substrates in GaN-based devices such as LEDs, high brightness lasers and high-frequency, high-power transistors.