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David Aspnes

Director of Graduate Programs
Distinguished University Professor
Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor


Professor Aspnes received his PhD in 1965 from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign (UIUC). Following a year as a postdoctoral research associate at UIUC and another at Brown University, he joined Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, as a member of the technical staff. In 1984, he became Head of the Interface Physics Department of the Bellcore, the part of Bell Laboratories that went with the operating companies in the AT&T divestiture. He joined NC State University as a Professor of Physics in 1992, and was named Distinguished University Professor of Physics in 1999.

Professor Aspnes is best known for his experimental and theoretical work on the development and application of optical techniques for the analysis of materials, thin films, interfaces, and structures. These optical techniques include theory and practice of spectroscopic ellipsometry, modulation spectroscopy, reflectance-difference spectroscopy, and materials-and interface-analysis using linear and nonlinear optics. Electroreflectance, a branch of modulation spectroscopy for which he established the theoretical foundation, provided information needed to establish nonlocal pseudopotential theory and other more accurate methods of calculating the energy band structure of semiconductors. Spectroscopic ellipsometry is now an indispensable metrology tool of integrated-circuits technology. Other contributions include virtual-interface theory, generally used for establishing the properties of materials during deposition, and the anisotropic bond model of nonlinear optics. By providing insight into nonlinear-optical processes at the atomic level, the latter has greatly facilitated the interpretation of nonlinear optical data.

Select Publications | Complete List Of Publications

Electric Field Effects on Optical Absorption near Thresholds in Solids
   Phys. Rev. 147, 554 (1966); D. E. Aspnes.

A High-Precision Scanning Ellipsometer
   Appl. Opt. 14, 220 (1975); D. E. Aspnes and A. A. Studna.

Optical Properties of Thin Films
   Thin Solid Films 89, 249 (1982); D. E. Aspnes (over 900 citations).

Local-field effects and effective-medium theory: a microscopic perspective
   Am. J. Phys. 50, 704 (1982); D. E. Aspnes.

Dielectric functions and optical parameters of Si, Ge, GaP, GaAs, GaSb, InP, InAs, and InSb from 1.5 to 6.0 eV
   Phys. Rev. B27, 985 (1983); D. E. Aspnes and A. A. Studna (over 2000 citations).

Growth of AlxGa1-xAs parabolic quantum wells by real-time feedback control of composition
   Appl. Phys. Lett. 60, 1244 (1992); D. E. Aspnes, W. E. Quinn, M. C. Tamargo, M. A. A. Pudensi, S. A. Schwarz, M. J. S. P. Brasil, R. E. Nahory, and S. Gregory.

Minimal-Data Approaches for Determining Outer-Layer Dielectric Responses of Films from Kinetic Reflectometric and Ellipsometric Data
   J. Opt. Soc. Am. A10, 974-83 (1993); D. E. Aspnes.

Many-body and correlation effects in surface and interface spectra of optically absorbing materials
   D. E. Aspnes, L. Mantese, K. A. Bell, and U. Rossow, phys. stat. sol. 170, 199-210 (1998).

Elimination of endpoint-discontinuity artifacts in the analysis of spectra in reciprocal space
   S.-D. Yoo and D. E. Aspnes, J. Appl. Phys. 89, 8183-92 (2001).

Simplified bond-hyperpolarizability model of second harmonic generation
   G. D. Powell, J.-F. Wang, and D. E. Aspnes, Phys. Rev. B65, art. no. 205320 (2002).

Analytic determination of n, κ, and d of an absorbing film from polarimetric data in the thin-film limit
   I. K. Kim and D. E. Aspnes, J. Appl. Phys. 101, 033109 (2007).

The Anisotropic Bond Model of Nonlinear Optics
   E. J. Adles and D. E. Aspnes, phys. stat. sol. (a)205, 728-731 (2008)/DOI 10.1002/pssa.200777846.

Bond models in linear and nonlinear optics
   D. E. Aspnes, physica status solidi B247, 1873-1880 (2010).

Measurement and control of in-plane surface chemistry during the oxidation of H-terminated (111) Si
   Bilal Gokce, Eric J. Adles, David E. Aspnes, and Kenan Gundogdu, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 107, 17503-17508 (2010). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011295107

Plasmonics and effective-medium theories
   D. E. Aspnes, Thin Solid Films 519, 2571-4 (2011).

Shallow acceptor complexes in p-type ZnO
   J. G. Reynolds, C. L. Reynolds, Jr., A. Mohanta, J. F. Muth, J. E. Rowe, H. O. Everitt, and D. E. Aspnes, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 152114 (2013).

Spectroscopic ellipsometry - Past, present, and future.
   Thin Solid Films 571, 334-344 (2014); D. E. Aspnes.

Exciton-dominated dielectric function of atomically thin MoS2 films
   Scientific Reports, 5, 16996 (2015); Yu, Y. L., Yu, Y. F., Cai, Y. Q., Li, W., Gurarslan, A., Peelaers, H., Aspnes, D. E., Van de Walle, C. G., Nguyen, N. V., Zhang, Y. W., & Cao, L. Y.

Honors & Awards

  • 2013 National Academy of Inventors, Fellow
  • 2011 Mentor Award of the Society of Vacuum Coaters
  • 2005 Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Award from NCSU
  • 2002 American Association for the Advancement of Science, Member
  • 1998 National Academy of Sciences, Member
  • 1998 Medard W. Welch Award of the American Vacuum Society
  • 1997 Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Prize for International Cooperation
  • 1996 Alumni Outstanding Research Award from NCSU
  • 1996 Frank Isakson Prize of the American Physical Society
  • 1993 John Yarwood Memorial Medal of the British Vacuum Council
  • 1987 R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America