McCombe Named SUNY Distinguished Professor

By Arthur Page

Release Date: October 11, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bruce D. McCombe, professor of physics and associate dean for research and sponsored programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo, has been named a SUNY Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

The designation, a rank above full professor and the highest in the SUNY system, denotes exceptional contribution in an academic field through publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students.

McCombe joined the faculty in the UB Department of Physics in 1978 and has served in a variety of administrative posts, including associate chair and chair of the physics department, co-director of the Center for Electronic and Electro-Optic Materials and deputy director for the New York State Institute for Superconductivity. He currently is director for the Center for Advanced Photonic and Electronic Materials (CAPEM).

A fellow of the American Physical Society, his research interests are in semiconductor physics, particularly infrared and far infrared spectroscopy of semiconductor nanostructures.

He is the author or co-author of more than 90 articles in refereed journals and a like number of refereed conference proceedings.

McCombe is involved in three cutting-edge research grants UB has received during the past year. He is an investigator on UB's part -- worth $8 million -- of a $14 million "Information Technology Collaboratory" grant awarded to the Rochester Institute of Technology by the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). The UB research, to be conducted by the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, will apply the institute's expertise in photonics to next-generation IT systems. Researchers will work toward developing materials and technologies that allow for major expansions of bandwidth and speed. These involve developing new IT components and materials, as well as novel methods of processing them.

A key strategy involves taking advantage of pioneering work on semiconductor devices being done at CAPEM. Joint areas of investigation include opto-electronic devices and photonic-circuit design based on semiconducter heterostructures, as well as spintronic and spin-photonic materials and devices, which are based on the spin of electrons.

McCombe is principal investigator on a $10 million project funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop specific ferromagnetic materials for use in spintronics. UB is the lead institution in a nine-member consortium on the project.

McCombe also is an investigator on another multi-million-dollar project to develop new materials in molecular electronics, photonics and opto-electronics to form the basis of a new generation of solar-powered, IT systems. This project, also being led by the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, involves a $5 million grant from the Department of Defense. UB is leading a world-class consortium on the project.

A native of Sanford, Maine, McCombe earned a bachelor's degree, cum laude, from Bowdoin College and a doctorate from Brown University.

He resides in Clarence.