The Solid State Lighting & Energy Efficiency Electronics Center

Ever since the hub of ingenuity we know today as the Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) opened in 2001 (as the Solid State Lighting Display Center), a group of highly collaborative scientists has been pushing the limits of materials science to develop pivotal semiconductor technologies. Many are patented and now provide indispensable functionality in a wide array of consumer products. The research ties the center to the future while building on the UCSB past and, particularly, the work of Emeritus Professor Herbert Kroemer, whose pioneering research on the use of heterostructures in semiconductors helped launch the Digital Age while earning him a Nobel Prize.

Nearly seventy years after Kroemer’s seminal contributions, SSLEEC brings together faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers from the Materials, Chemistry, Physics, and Electrical & Computer Engineering Departments at UCSB. Today the center is focused on developing new semiconductor-based technologies for energy-efficient lighting, power electronics, and the bulk growth of selenium gallium nitride (GaN) crystals.

Equally important as the work itself is ensuring that valuable new products and technologies make it to the marketplace where they can positively impact the world. As of 2016, the center had received 105 issued patents, and was party to 30 licensed patents to partnering companies, with more than 25 of those issued for products related to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes. SSLEEC papers have been cited more than 12,000 times. 

“SSLEEC brings particular pride to UCSB engineering and the sciences based on the prowess of its faculty and researchers, and the many breakthroughs that have resulted from their efforts,” says Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering and a member of the SSLEEC Board of Directors. “The center stands for so much of what we value most at the College of Engineering and at UCSB as a whole: cutting-edge science, both fundamental and applied; creative, long-term collaborations involving researchers from multiple departments and disciplines; and a dedication to training graduate students who are ready to lead. SSLEEC has had a great deal to do with the Materials Departments’ being rated consistently as the top such program at any U.S. public university, and one of the top five programs among all universities.”

For more information about the Solid State Lighting and Energy Efficiency Center, please contact Yukina Warner or visit