Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
The 1993 Harold E. Edgerton Award, which annually honors a junior faculty member for distinction in teaching, research, and service to the MIT community, has been given to Associate Professor Jesus A. del Alamo of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
The announcement was made at the May 19 Faculty meeting by Professor Warren P. Seering of the Department of Mechanical, who was speaking for the Edgerton Award Selection Committee, which included Professors John Joannopoulos of Physics, Frederick J. McGarry of Materials Science and Engineering and Julio J. Rotemberg of Management.
The award, which carries an honorarium of $5,000, was established in 1983 with contributions by the faculty in honor of Professor Harold E. (Doc) Edgerton, who died in 1990.
Professor del Alamo, the Selection Committee wrote in its citation, has made significant contributions to advancing the understanding of compound semiconductor devices, developing a strategy for achieving high breakdown voltage in III-V transistors, which provides a practical route to high power capability for these devices.
"This work promises to make a significant impact in the areas of communications, photonics and microwave technology," the Selection Committee said. "In the area of quantum-effect devices, Jesus, together with members of his research group, has performed the first electronic tunneling spectroscopy experiments to determine the density of states for a one-dimensional conductor. With his UROP students, graduate students, and colleagues, Jesus has authored well over100 technical papers on performance and production of semiconductor devices."
The Selection Committee also praised Professor del Alamo's work in the classroom,.
"He has displayed excellent skills in teaching. His natural aptitude for teaching shows in the way he modernized the design project in the EE core subject on electronic devices and circuits-giving it a more microelectronics flavor-by having students design devices for a hypothetical manufacturing facility called the 6.012 Foundry. He consistently receives rave reviews from his students. In a representative response, a student reported in the fall term 1989 Underground Guide, `The fact that del Alamo was teaching was why I registered for 6.720.' His energy, clarity, and inspiring creativity combined with the practicality and relevance of his teaching approach led to his receiving the Institute's Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award in 1992."
Professor del Alamo began his university education in Spain, where he received the degree of Telecommunications Engineer from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. He continued his education at Stanford University, receiving MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering.
As an undergraduate, Professor del Alamo's studies involved the development of silicon solar cells. He went on to do his doctoral work on minority carrier transport in heavily-doped silicon emitters used for bipolar transistors and solar cells.
"Through detailed modeling and clever experiments, he unified a variety of previously ill-understood measurements. This work serves as the basis for many of the advanced bipolar models presently used in device and circuit simulations," the Selection Committee said.
After receiving his PhD, he joined NTT's Atsugi Research Laboratories in Japan. There, he expanded and redirected his research into the field of compound (III-V) semiconductor devices.
"His work there (at NTT) pioneered the InAlAs/InGaAs/InP material system for high-frequency high electron mobility transistors," the Selection Committee said.
After two years at NTT, Professor del Alamo arrived at MIT to join the EECS Department as an assistant professor in January of 1988. In July of 1991, he was promoted to associate professor.
"Jesus has served his community in many ways," the Selection Committee said. "He has run workshops and conferences in his field and has been a student advisor. He has played an important role in guiding the transition within the EECS Department toward the MEng as its five-year Master of Engineering degree. Jesus is the only junior faculty member on the Professional Educational Policy Committee which the department formed to work on the transition to the new program. He has shown strong leadership in his role as chairman of one of the committee's crucial Engineering Concentration (EC) Subcommittees.
"There are many very talented young faculty members at MIT. Our committee has had the privilege of reviewing the accomplishments of some of the best of these. Having done so, we believe that none is more worthy of receiving the 1993-1994 Harold E. Edgerton Award than Jesus A. del Alamo. "
A version of this article appeared in the May 26, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 34).