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Professor Sir Colin Humphreys

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys
Room 0_032
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 334457


Gallium Nitride, Electron Microscopy and Aerospace

My research is broad and covers three main areas: gallium nitride materials and devices; advanced electron microscopy; and high-temperature aerospace materials.

Gallium-nitride materials and devices

Gallium nitride (GaN) is probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon. It emits brilliant light as well as being a key material for next-generation transistors. The Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride in the Department has world-class growth and characterization facilities. On the same site we have a six-wafer MOCVD growth system, plus a range of world-class characterization equipment, including advanced electron microscopy and analysis, high-resolution X-ray diffraction, atomic-force microscopy, photoluminescence mapping, etc. My group of about 20 works at the cutting edge of GaN research worldwide. Our research goes from fundamental studies through to applications in LEDs and lasers, including next-generation solid-state lighting and UV LEDs for purifying water in the developing world.

Advanced electron microscopy and analysis

We are developing and applying a range of advanced electron microscopy techniques. For example, we have pioneered energy-filtered secondary-electron imaging in scanning electron microscopy for the mapping of dopants in silicon and other semiconductor devices. We are applying high-resolution electron microscopy, electron-energy-loss spectroscopy and electron holography to gallium nitride based structures in particular. An aberration-corrected and monochromated electron microscope will shortly be delivered, which together with a new dual-beam focused-ion-beam instrument will keep electron microscopy at Cambridge as a world-class centre (see

High-temperature aerospace materials

The Department contains the Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership in Advanced Materials. We are designing and developing higher-temperature advanced alloys that will improve the efficiency of gas-turbine engines, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

For more information on Colin's career and how he founded the GaN centre read his researcher profile.


We conduct world leading research into nitride based III-V semiconductors: material quality, characterisation and device development.

We are passionate about education and outreach! If you would like support for an education project then please .

October 2017: Deterministic optical polarisation in nitride quantum dots at thermoelectrically cooled temperatures

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