Jerry M. Woodall, a National Medal of Technology Laureate, and the Barry and Patricia Epstein Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, received a B.S. in metallurgy in 1960 from MIT. In 1982, he was awarded a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. He pioneered and patented the development of GaAs high efficiency IR LEDs, used today in remote control and data link applications such as TV sets and IR LAN. This was followed by the invention and seminal work on gallium aluminum arsenide (GaAlAs) and GaAlAs/GaAs heterojunctions used in super-bright red LEDs and lasers used, for example, in CD players and short link optical fiber communications. He also pioneered and patented the GaAlAs/GaAs heterojunction bipolar transistor used in, for example, cellular phones. Also, using GaAs/InGaAs strained, non-lattice-matched heterostructures, he pioneered the “pseudomorphic” high electron mobility transistor (HEMT), a state-of-the-art high speed device widely used in cellular phones. The technological and commercial importance of his seminal work led to the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for heterojunctions awarded to Herbert Kroemer and Zhores Alferov. His demonstration of the GaAlAs/GaAs heterojunction led to the creation of important new areas of solid-state physics, such as: superlattice, low dimension, mesoscopic, and resonant tunneling physics. Also, using the technique called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and the GaAs/InGaAs strained, non-lattice-matched heterostructure, he pioneered the “pseudomorphic” high electron mobility transistor (HEMT), a state-of-the-art high speed device widely used in devices and circuits including those found in cellular phones. This work led to the use of the pseudomorphic InAs/GaAs heterostructure to make “self-organized” quantum dots, a currently popular topic in physics. His recent past work involves the MBE growth of III-V materials and devices with special emphasis on metal contacts, the thermodynamics of extremely large doping concentrations, and devices made of non-lattice matched heterojunctions and substrates. More recently he invented, developed and published a breakthrough global scale “green” energy storage technology in which bulk aluminum rich alloys split both fresh water and salt water into hydrogen gas on demand, thus obviating the need to store and transport hydrogen. The aluminum hydroxide reaction product is easily recycled back to aluminum via the commercial Hall electrolysis process. This feature coupled with the fact that aluminum has the highest volumetric total chemical energy density known, and the fact tthat aluminum has the highest volumetric total chemical energy density known, and the fact that aluminum is the third most abundant element on earth’s surface promises to make this technology a serious contender for a long haul , global scale, economically viable , alternative green energy solution.
His efforts are recorded in over 350 publications in the open literature, and 85 issued U.S. patents. His accomplishments have been recognized by his election as IBM Fellow in 1985, an $80,000 IBM Corporate Award in 1992 for the invention of the GaAlAs/GaAs heterojunction, and the 2001 National Medal of Technology awarded by the President of the United States.
Other recognition includes the 1980 Electronics Division Award of the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the 1984 IEEE Jack A. Morton Award, the 1985 ECS Solid State Science and Technology Award, the 1988 Heinrich Welker Gold Medal and International GaAs Symposium Award, the 1990 American Vacuum Society (AVS) Medard Welch (Founder’s) Award, its highest honor, the 1997 Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members' Award, the 1998 American Society for Engineering Education’s General Electric Senior Research Award, the 1998 Electrochemical Society’s (ECS) Edward Goodrich Acheson (Founder’s) Award, its highest honor, ECS Honorary Member (2009), an IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000), the Federation of Materials Societies' 2002 National Materials Advancement Award, and the 2005 IEEE Jun-ichci Nishizawa Gold Medal. Honorific recognition includes his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1989, Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982, IEEE Fellow in 1990, ECS Fellow in 1992, and AVS Fellow in 1994. His national professional society activities include President of the ECS (1990), and President of AVS (1998).