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Think and Do The Extraordinary

David Aspnes

Distinguished University Professor and Director of Graduate Programs

Director of Graduate Programs

Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor

Riddick Hall 204A



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.

Research Description

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.


Complete list of publications

Honors and 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

Selected Publications

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

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

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

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

Dielectric functions and optical parameters of Si, Ge, GaP, GaAs, GaSb, InP, InAs, and InSb from 1.5 to 6.0 eV
D. E. Aspnes and A. A. Studna (over 2000 citations)
Phys. Rev. B, 27, (1983), 985

Growth of AlxGa1-xAs parabolic quantum wells by real-time feedback control of composition
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
Appl. Phys. Lett., 60, (1992), 1244

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

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, (1998), 199-210

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

Simplified bond-hyperpolarizability model of second harmonic generation
G. D. Powell, J.-F. Wang, and D. E. Aspnes
Phys. Rev. B, 65, (2002), art. no. 205320

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, (2007), 033109

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

Bond models in linear and nonlinear optics
D. E. Aspnes
physica status solidi B, 247, (2010), 1873-1880

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, (2010), 17503-17508, doi:10.1073/pnas.1011295107

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

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, (2013), 152114

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

Exciton-dominated dielectric function of atomically thin MoS2 films
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.
Scientific Reports, 5, (2015), 16996

Liquid gallium and the eutectic gallium indium (EGaIn) alloy: Dielectric functions from 1.24 to 3.1 eV by electrochemical reduction of surface oxides
Morales, D., Stoute, N. A., Yu, Z. Y., Aspnes, D. E., & Dickey, M. D.
Applied Physics Letters, 109, (2016), 091905