Gerald Stringfellow, an older man with white hair, and white goatee and wire-rimmed glasses, sits at his desk, holding a model of some kind of molecule — sticks attached to yellow and white balls arranged to form a three-dimensional grid thing.

Gerald Stringfellow’s bright idea

The National Academy of Inventors has released a new video about the legacy of Gerald Stringfellow, University of Utah Distinguished Professor of both electrical and computer engineering and materials science and engineering.

The new video, “From Campus to Commerce,” profiles Stringfellow’s contributions to the development of light-emitting diodes, a technology that would benefit everything that uses LEDs from traffic lights to computer monitors.

Stringfellow developed a process called organometallic vapor-phase epitaxy for the growth of new semiconductor alloys in which aluminum, gallium, indium and phosphorous are deposited on a substrate to create red, orange, yellow and green LED crystals. This led to better handheld calculators that used red LEDs for the display. Stringfellow took his research to the University of Utah where he was hired as a professor in 1980. He made major conceptual advances in the field and would later publish a book on the process that has now become the bible for the science of growing LED crystals.

Stringfellow has received top awards for his research, including the International Organization for Crystal Growth’s Frank Prize, the Rosenblatt Prize from the U and the John Bardeen Award from The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. He also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The NAI’s “Campus to Commerce” video series showcases member institutions and the journey of early-stage innovations from campus to the marketplace. Watch the video below.

Media Contacts

Vincent Horiuchipublic relations associate, College of Engineering