Photo of Calvin H. Carter

Calvin H. Carter

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Manufacturing

For his exceptional contributions to the development of silicon carbide wafers, leading to new industries in wide bandgap semiconductors and enabling other new industries in efficient blue, green, and white light, full-color displays, high-power solid-state microwave amplifiers, more efficient/compact power supplies, higher efficiency power distribution/transmission systems, and gemstones.

The silicon carbide material commonplace in today’s lighting and power industries traces back to humble research started by Dr. Calvin H. Carter.

As a graduate student, Dr. Carter started his research career in 1977 at North Carolina State University, later investigating the physical and electronic properties of silicon carbide, a rare, naturally occurring material, as co-founder and Director of Materials Technology at Cree, Inc, in 1987. His company has become an innovator of lighting products and semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency applications.

Materials developed from his technology now drive the semiconductor industry as high quality silicon carbide wafers influencing both military and consumer markets.

Dr. Carter’s work has led to innovations in blue and green light-emitting diodes (LEDs), white light generation, microwave amplifiers and man-made Moissanite crystals.

About his research inspiration, Dr. Carter has said, “I was hoping we would be able to grow a new industry that would make a difference in the world’s economy.”

By Melissa Ayala