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Semiconductor Devices and Microfabrication

Dr. Aaron Hawkins

Department Chair - Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director of BYU Integrated Microfabrication Lab (Cleanroom)
Faculty Member Since 2002
Bio / Gallery
Professional Experience
Courses Taught

Aaron Hawkins earned the B.S. degree in Applied Physics from Caltech and the Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Before joining the faculty at BYU in 2002, he was a cofounder of Terabit Technology in Santa Barbara, California, and later worked as an engineer for CIENA and Intel. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and OSA. He served as the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics and currently serves as the Vice President for Publications for the IEEE Photonics Society. He has authored or coauthored nearly 400 technical papers and was the co-editor of the Optofluidics Handbook, a defining text on the new field of optofluidics. He also co-authored the textbook Practically Magic, A Guide to Electrical and Computer Engineering. At BYU, Dr. Hawkins directs the university's cleanroom facility and co-directs a flagship undergraduate research program called IMMERSE.

Dr. Hawkins is also an amazing writer. You can find his short stories at


Ph.D - Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of California, Santa Barbara
Dissertation: Silicon-Indium-Gallium-Arsenide Avalanche Photodetectors

M.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of California, Santa Barbara

B.S. (Honors) Applied Physics

California Institute of Technology

Co-founder and Consultant

Fluxus Technologies, Santa Clara, CA
Specialist in chip fabrication, device integration and packaging
2016 - Present

Scientific Board Member and Co-founder

LiquiLume Technologies, San Joes, CA
- Oversaw attempts to transfer chip fabrication to commercial foundries
- Assisted with proposal writing and pitches to venture capital firms
2011 - 2013


Palmer Technologies, Provo, UT
- Designed thin-film based electrodes for compact mass spectrometer
- Oversaw electrode fabrication on silicon and ceramic substrates
2004 - 2006

Staff Applications Engineer

Intel Corporation, Calabasas, CA
- Provided technical support to networking customers for Intel's products from the optical fiber layer to the framer including TIAs. LIAs, Laser Drivers, CDRs, Mux and Demuxes, and FECs
- Perform systems and component level testing for new products including noise characterization, jitter performance, S-parameter measurements, and sensitivity measurements and predictions
- Set product specifications for next generation devices for SONET and Ethernet applications
2001 - 2002
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Principle Engineer

CIENA Corporation, Santa Barabara, CA
- Lead technical effort to bring InGaAs-Silicon avalanche photodiodes (APDs) to commercial viability at 10 Gbit/s, creating world's most sensitive optical receivers
- Hired, trained, and supervised a team of engineers and technicians to create and validate component processes, DC and RF testing procedures, package designs, and device reliability
- Oversaw and scheduled component production utilitizing $2M annual budget
1998 - 2001

Vice President of Research and Development

Terabit Technology Incorporated, Santa Barbara, CA
Co-founded company based on graduate research
Oversaw $15M corporate acquisition of Terabit by CIENA Corporation
Built semiconductor cleanroom and procured processing and testing equipment with $2M capital equipment budget
1997 - 1998

Graduate Student Researcher

University of California, Santa Barbara
Reported world record gain-bandwidth-product for optical detector
Invented technique of InGaAs to silicon wafer fusion
1994 - 1997

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Worked in hydrodynamics testing group modeling X-ray production from large radiographic machines
1992 - 1993

Teaching Assistant

Applied Physics Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Graded, conducted recitations, and supervised labs for undergraduate optics class
1993 - 1994

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Chemistry Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Assisted with time-of-flight mass spectrometry experiments
1991 - 1992

ECEn 555 - Optoelectronic Devices

Design, operation, and fabrication of modern optoelectronic devices, including photodiodes, photovoltaics, LEDs, and lasers

ECEn 550 - Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

Design, fabrication, and applications of MEMS. Mechanical properties governing their design and reliability and the processing technologies used to fabricate them.

ECEn 490 - Solar Lighting, Free Space Optical Communications, Lightsuits

Senior Project. No Link.

ECEn 475-476 - Capstone

Two-semester design experience from conception to manufacturing planning and prototype. Product development process. Economic and manufacturing considerations. Intellectual property agreement required.

ECEn 452 - Experiments in Integrated Circuit Development

Measurements of key silicon properties and fabrication of integrated circuits.

ECEn 450 - Introduction to Semiconductor Devices

Physics of electronic and optical solid state devices; includes semiconductor materials, bipolar and FET device physics and modeling, optical properties of semiconductors, and lasers.

ECEn 212 - Introduction to Circuits

No longer taught - Now ECEn240 (includes lab)

ECEn 191 - New Student Seminar

Understand the discipline of electrical and computer engineering and its many roles in the modern technological world. Hawkins developed the course and wrote the textbook