The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 6: Southwest Area (encompassing New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada) has selected Dr. Jose Luis Cruz-Campa (in Sandia’s MEMS* Technologies Dept.) as the recipient of their 2014 Outstanding Engineer Award for his “critical technical and leadership contributions to the development of microsystems-enabled PV (MEPV) technology and nano-patterned CdTe

[cadmium telluride] solar materials research.”

Jose Luis receives his IEEE Outstanding Engineer Award from Sargent N. Benson, Region 6 Southwest Area Chair (left), and Mark S. Frankfurth, Region 6 Southwest Area Awards Chair (right).

Jose Luis receives his IEEE Outstanding Engineer Award from Sargent N. Benson, Region 6 Southwest Area Chair (left), and Mark S. Frankfurth, Region 6 Southwest Area Awards Chair (right).

The IEEE Outstanding Engineer Award is designed to recognize IEEE members from each region who, through their technical abilities, have made outstanding contributions to their profession. It recognizes the development of new technical concepts, significant patents, development of new devices, development of applications, new designs, and/or significant cost reductions using known techniques.

A key aspect of Jose Luis’ research program is the use of microfabrication techniques, more commonly used in MEMS or integrated circuit (IC) technology, to advance the photovoltaic (PV) state-of-the-art. Jose Luis’ broad background in mechanical engineering, physics, and electrical engineering has allowed him to participate in multidisciplinary projects involving solar energy, devices, material science, mechanics, and optics.

Jose Luis is the co-principal investigator for a recently funded DOE SunShot bridge proposal focused on improving the performance of thin-film CdTe technology. He and his team are using microfabrication techniques to selectively grow CdTe nano- and micro-sized islands using cadmium sulfide/indium tin oxide patterned with silicon dioxide.

Jose Luis Cruz-Campa (right) along with fellow Sandia researchers Murat OKandan (left) and Greg Nielson (center) hold samples containing arrays of microsystems-enabled photovoltaic (MEPV) cells. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Jose Luis Cruz-Campa (right) along with fellow Sandia researchers Murat Okandan (left) and Greg Nielson (center) hold samples containing arrays of microsystems-enabled photovoltaic (MEPV) cells. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

His MEPV work has received numerous awards, including a 2012 “R&D 100 Award” from R&D Magazine. His direct contributions led to the optimization of ultra-thin and micro-scaled PV and enhanced the efficiency of these devices from < 1% to almost 15%. These cells use 10–20 times less material, are flexible, and keep the same levels of efficiency as their conventional counterparts. Jose Luis is author/co-author to more than 40 technical publications and 22 patent applications of which 3 have been awarded by the US patent office.

Throughout Jose Luis’ career, he has exhibited strong leadership and a passion for promoting solar energy and materials science. He has been a presenter of hands-on solar energy and materials science activities in local middle schools, summer science camps, bilingual engineering workshops for kids, and at career days for K-12 students. In 2013, he worked with teachers from the Albuquerque Public Schools system to promote a MEMs education program. The Region 6 Outstanding Engineer Award was presented to Dr. Cruz-Campa at the IEEE Region 6 Southern and Southwest Area Meeting on October 25th in Los Angeles, California.

*  Micro electromechanical systems.