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Jim Speck obtained his Sc.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. In 1990 he joined the faculty at UC Santa Barbara. Speck's research focuses on the relationship between thin film electronic materials growth, microstructure, and the relation between microstructure and physical properties. Much of the experimental work focuses on MOCVD or MBE growth studies coupled with structural characterization by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy. Speck also has active research and collaborations in modeling microstructure and physical properties. His current work is largely centered on the wide bandgap nitrides, but he also has projects in defect reduction in highly misfitting thin film semiconductors, the growth and microstructure of thin film oxides grown epitaxially on semiconductor or oxide substrates, and the structure and properties of epitaxial ferroelectric films. Speck is a member of the Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society, and the Microscopy Society of America.