Edmund G Seebauer

Edmund G Seebauer
Edmund G Seebauer
Professor Emeritus
(217) 244-9214
114 Roger Adams Laboratory

For More Information


  • Postdoctorate, Sandia National Laboratories, 1987
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1986
  • B.S., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1983


Edmund G. Seebauer is the James W. Westwater Professor Emeritus in Chemical Engineering. He has received a Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry and an Inventor Recognition Award from Semiconductor Research Corporation, and is currently a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Physical Society and the American Vacuum Society. He has roughly 200 journal and conference publications, four patents, and two books on charged defects in semiconductors as well as engineering ethics. He served six years until 2011 as head of the department, and subsequently as a special-assignment associate provost until 2014 focusing on international academic programs. In 2000-2001 he received a Fellowship for Study in a Second Discipline Fellowship at Illinois, with a focus on philosophical ethics. He continues to write and lecture publicly on ethics in science and engineering.

Academic Positions

  • Provost Fellow (International Academic Programs), 2011-2014
  • Department Head, University of Illinois, UC, 2006-2011
  • Interim Department Head, University of Illinois, UC, 2005-2006
  • James W. Westwater Professor, University of Illinois, UC, 2006-

Research Statement

Engineering of Semiconductor Defects for Nanoscale Devices

Research in this group focuses on controlling the behavior of atomic-scale defects in semiconducting materials to make nanoscale devices of interest in energy, environmental, and microelectronics applications. Despite the harmful sound of “defect,” such species can actually be beneficial for semiconductor properties. For example, controlled substitution of dopant atoms for host atoms in a semiconductor (as “substitutional defects”) is absolutely essential for the operation of microelectronic devices. Our work aims at “defect engineering” seeks to manipulate the identities of the majority defects in semiconductors as well as their concentrations, spatial distribution, and mobility. We have discovered two new physical mechanisms to accomplish this control that work particularly well at the nanoscale. The mechanisms include saturation of dangling bonds at a surface and photostimulation. Our work employs both experiments and computations to develop this fundamental science base, while simultaneously applying the findings to practical applications.

The principles of defect engineering can be employed for semiconductors such as metal oxides used in catalysts for energy applications. In fuel cells, for example, metals supported on semiconducting oxides such as Pt/Co2O3 and Pd/V2O5 are known to be among the best catalysts for cathodes and anodes, respectively. Noble metals on semiconducting oxides can be used for generating hydrogen from water using sunlight. Active metal particles are often very small – sometimes only a few nanometers in diameter. The activity can be strongly influenced by defects near the semiconductor surface. Thus, we view these systems as nanoscale semiconductor devices whose behavior can be tailored through control of the defects. This approach provides a new way to create novel catalyst structures with improved activity and selectivity. 

Defect engineering also finds use in environmental catalysis applications. For example, vanadia (V2O5) supported on titania (TiO2) is the best material for selective catalytic reduction of dangerous nitric oxides to nitrogen by ammonia in combustion exhausts. Titania has many existing and potential uses in water cleanup by photocatalysis, as well as in self-cleaning coatings. One factor that limits the efficiency of such catalysts is unwanted defects that destroy the useful photoelectrons. Defect engineering to remove the unwanted defects permits higher efficiency.

Research Interests

  • Engineering of Semiconductor Defects for Nanoscale Devices

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

  • Edmund G. Seebauer and Meredith C. Kratzer, Charged Semiconductor Defects: Structure, Thermodynamics and Diffusion (Springer, London, 2009), 294 pp.
  • Edmund G. Seebauer and Robert L. Barry, Fundamentals of Ethics for Scientists and Engineers (Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 2001), 270 pp. With instruction manual, 180 pp.

Chapters in Books

  • Edmund G. Seebauer, “Fundamentals of Ethics: The Use of Virtues,” Practical Ethics for the Food Professional, ed. J. Peter Clark and Christopher Ritson (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) Ch. 1.
  • Edmund G. Seebauer and Kyong Wook Noh, “Trends in Semiconductor Defect Engineering at the Nanoscale,” Materials Science & Engineering R, 70 (2010) 151-168.

Selected Articles in Journals


Teaching Honors

  • DuPont Young Faculty Award, 1989
  • Dow Teaching Excellence Award, 1988

Recent Courses Taught

  • CHBE 424 - Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • CHBE 457 - Microelectronics Processing