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B. Jayant Baliga

Nobel Prize for Physics

2014

Professor Baliga graduated with a B. Tech degree in 1969 from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras as a Valedictorian and Philips India Medal awardee. He received his Doctoral Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974 with the Allen B. Du Mont Prize. This pioneering doctoral research on the MOCVD growth of various semiconductors led to its commercialization and widespread use today for manufacturing LEDs, lasers, optoelectronic circuits, and RF devices.

He joined the General Electric Research and Development Center in 1974 and became manager of the ‘Power Device Development Group’. He pioneered the concept of MOS-Bipolar physics integration. His most impactful innovation was the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) that he invented, developed, and commercialized within a remarkably short period of 2 years. Its widespread impact on GE products in the consumer, industrial, lighting, and transportation divisions led to his elevation to the highest ranking scientist designation of Coolidge Fellow, the youngest person to receive the award. Today, the IGBT is manufactured by all major power semiconductor companies with sales of over $ 10 Billion. It is used in all sectors of the economy to improve the quality of life for billions of people around the world. From 1990 to 2015, the IGBT has produced electrical energy savings of 73,000 Terra-Watt-Hours and gasoline savings of over 1.5 Trillion gallons. This has had a huge environmental impact by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 109 Trillion pounds, gaining him the moniker of “the man with the largest negative carbon footprint in the world”. Consumers have saved over $ 23 Trillion due to these energy savings.

He joined North Carolina State University in 1988 as Full Professor and was subsequently promoted as Progress Energy Distinguished University Professor. He established and directed an industrial consortium, the Power Semiconductor Research Center (PSRC), from 1991 to 1999 with $ 6 Million in funding. The first high voltage power devices made from silicon carbide were demonstrated at PSRC based on his projected 1000-fold improvement in on-state resistance, an outcome of the Baliga’s Figure-of-Merit (BFOM) that he theoretically derived in 1979. He invented the JBS Rectifier and Shielded Planar MOSFET structures that are now used in all commercialized silicon carbide power devices. At NCSU, he helped establish the $ 50 Million NSF sponsored Engineering Research Center, called Future Renewable Electrical Energy Distribution and Management (FREEDM), in 2008 to create a resilient Micro-grid with plug-and-play energy generation and storage capability. He then collaborated on establishing the DOE sponsored $ 140 Million PowerAmerica Institute, to create the first U. S. foundry-based eco-system for manufacturing silicon carbide power devices. At PowerAmerica, he has crafted and commercialized a national silicon carbide device manufacturing process called PRESiCETM, and invented many device structures with enhanced performance for power electronic applications.

As a scientist and researcher, Prof. Baliga has published over 650 technical articles in journals and at conferences. His papers have over 25,000 Google Scholar Citations, earning him an h-index of 68. He has been issued 122 U.S. Patents with more than 10 products commercialized based on them.

As an entrepreneur, Prof. Baliga has founded four successful companies. His company, MicroOhm Corporation, commercialized the silicon TMBS rectifier, which is regarded as the most successful new rectifier product during the last 40 years. His company, Silicon Wireless Corporation, developed and commercialized his Super-Linear RF transistor invention for use in wireless base stations. His company, Silicon Semiconductor Corporation developed and commercialized a MOSFET chip-set for powering microprocessors and graphics chips in laptops and servers. His company, Giant Semiconductor, developed and commercialized the Split-Gate GD-MOSFET device, which has become the dominant silicon MOSFET technology manufactured by companies around the world.

As an educator, Prof. Baliga has instructed over 2000 Under-graduate students on basic electrical engineering theory and over 900 Graduate students on power semiconductor devices. 21 Masters and 30 Ph. D. students have completed their dissertations under his guidance. He has written more than 20 textbooks and contributed over 20 chapters to other books. His most recent textbook “Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor Devices” is used by most universities around the world. His textbook “Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbide Power Devices” is widely used for teaching courses on wide bandgap semiconductor power devices. His book “The IGBT Device”, describing the multifarious applications of the devices in all sectors of society, won the prestigious PROSE award for best book on technology in 2015.

Prof. Baliga has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions and their impact on society. He became one of the youngest Members of the National Academy of Engineering at the age of 45. The IEEE Electron Devices Society gave him its highest recognition - the J. J. Ebers Award, and he was selected among the first six “Celebrated Members”. Other IEEE honors received by Prof. Baliga are: Fellow of the IEEE at the age of 35, William Newell Award – the highest recognition from the Power Electronics Society, Morris Liebmann Award for contributions to Smart Power Technology, Lamme Medal for creating a technology of benefit to society, and the Medal of Honor – the highest recognition by the IEEE.

Prof. Baliga was recognized with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama at the Whitehouse – the highest honor in Engineering given by the U.S. Government, the North Carolina Award for Science by Governor Purdue – the highest honor accorded a civilian in the State, and the Global Energy Prize by the Russian Federation – considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize for Energy. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame as the sole inventor of the IGBT – a recognition given to less than 600 patented inventions out of over 10 Million issued by the U.S. Patent Office.