Kelabit invents fastest light emitting transistor

Kelabit invents fastest light emitting transistor
By Churchill Edward

KUCHING: A Kelabit scientist has made Malaysia proud after he and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) beat 40 years of scientific norm by inventing the worlds fastest light emitting transistor and light emitting diode.
TOP BRAIN: Gabriel (centre) with Feng (left) and Prof Holonyak.

Dr Gabriel Walter, founder and CEO of Quantum Electro Opto Systems (QEOS) Sdn Bhd, scored both a national and personal breakthrough on the international technology front by being part of the team that created the worlds fastest spontaneous light emitters capable of transmitting at speeds of up to 7 GHz.

The feat was achieved recently through the Brain Gain Malaysia (BGM) Programme initiative, which encourages Malaysian scientists and researchers residing abroad and working on high impact commercial-ready technology, to return and help accelerate Malaysia into an innovation-led economy.

Gabriel from Sarawak scored his second success when the research was selected for publication on June 15 2009 edition of the Applied Physics Letters (by the American Institute of Physics), the most widely circulated technical journals in the world.

In addition to legendary inventor Prof Nick Holonyak Jr, Prof Milton Feng and Gabriel, the papers are also co-authored by UIUC PhD graduate students Chao Hsin Wu and Han Wui Then (another Malaysian).

QEOS gigabit speed LED is unique as it is a device that is cost-efficient to make and effortless to be implemented as the light bulb itself. It will introduce a pricing pressure and impact not seen before in the data communication and consumer electronic market. And for some fibre optic implementations, these LEDs consume 90 per cent less power compared to existing optical solutions, said Gabriel through a press statement made available yesterday.

For more than 40 years, the scientific community had embraced the belief that efficient spontaneous light device cannot be operated at bandwidths larger than 1 GHz. After more than five years of fundamental research which began at UIUC in 2004, the QEOS-UIUC team proved that 4.3 GHz operation of a light emitting transistor (LET) and, later, the 7 GHz operation of the LED were possible.

The research was funded through a four-year USD$6.5 million DARPA grant and later supported by the BGM grant and the US Research Army Office. The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defence for the development of new technology for use by the United States military, he explained.

In an age where energy conservation and the issues of global warming are important, this represents a significant environmental technology breakthrough. Our high speed LEDs will enable a new class of cost competitive green products that are environment friendly and aesthetically pleasing. Those thick ugly cables that usually come with your High Definition TVs and monitors would be things of the past, he said.

Gabriel was born in Kuching in 1977. He received the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the UIUC in 1998, 2001 and 2003, respectively.

His doctoral advisor, Prof Nick Holonyak Jr, was the inventor of the first practical LED and is one of only 13 Americans to have won both the National Medal of Science (1990) and the National Medal of Technology (2002). Gabriel was Prof Holonyaks last PhD student.

Gabriel is also a Senior Research Scientist at the UIUC. His research interest includes III-V quantum-well and quantum-dot-coupled to quantum-well lasers and transistor lasers and long-term radioisotope power sources.

He co-developed the first quantum-dot-coupled-to-quantum-well lasers to demonstrate the first room temperature operation of single quantum dot layer laser at both the visible (600 to 670 nm) and infrared wavelengths (960 to 1100 nm). In 2004, he co-invented the transistor laser.

In 2008, he along with Prof Holonyak Jr and Prof M Feng, founded Quantum Electro Opto Systems Sdn Bhd to explore and commercialise the new opportunities in high-speed opto-electronics and integrated circuits enabled by the transistor laser and light emitting transistor technology.

Gabriel disclosed that a research and development facility in Malacca will be developed and improved over the next five years to cater for work on advanced product and application development, device characterisation and analysis, device layout and design, semi-conductor epilayer design, device and product package development and product characterisation and analysis.

Malacca will be QEOS headquarter for R&D. We are currently lining up the necessary investments from both local and foreign sources to make this happen, he said.

Meanwhile researchers based in Illinois will continue to develop advanced concepts and theoretical models, microwave model, advanced semi-conductor processes and fabrication of devices.

Sources :

well done, well done. another achievement marked.

Malaysia boleh ! congrats !

congratulations Dr Gabriel Walter