Mike Scarpulla portrait
  • Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Associate Professor, Elect & Computer Engineering


  • , Postdoctoral Molecular Beam Epitaxy Lab, UC Santa Barbara
  • , ScB with Honors Materials Science & Engineering, Brown University

Research Summary

My research group focuses on compound semiconductors and other electronic materials - especially how defects and dopants affect material properties and device performance. Recent work has been in radiation induced damage in GaN, doping and defects in CdTe for photovoltaics, and doping and defects in Ga2O3 for high field electronics. Lastly, we have also worked on monitoring photovoltaic installations using a time domain reflectometry technique SSTDR.


Mike Scarpulla is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Utah, where he has been since 2008.  Mike earned the ScB degree in MSE from Brown University in 2000, was at IBM’s Almaden Research Center for one year, then earned his PhD in MSE at UC Berkeley 2001-2006.  His PhD and postdoc work was in epitaxial growth of compound semiconductor random and nanostructured alloys using pulsed laser melting and MBE respectively.  Prof. Scarpulla’s research is multidisciplinary and highly collaborative, enlisting a wide range of techniques to tackle complex problems relating to compound semiconductors.  Unifying themes of his research program are around processing and characterization, defects in compound semiconductors, characterization of PV materials, devices and systems, and applications related to efficient electrical generation and switching.  His group has worked on topics from embedded dielectric nanoparticle light trapping, to processing and characterization of defects in abundant-element compound semiconductor materials, to laser processing for thin film solar cell absorbers, to compositional variations along grain boundaries in polycrystalline CdTe solar cells, to novel single-crystal growth for group-V doped CdTe with long minority carrier lifetime, to understanding effects of neutron and gamma radiation on GaN devices including interactions with dislocations, to time-domain characterization of changes in PV systems, and finally to manipulating and characterizing defects in the emerging ultrawide gap Ga2O3 as PI on a team of 8 PIs.  He has authored or coauthored >200 peer-reviewed and conference publications as well as >100 conference talks/posters, many invited talks, and a fun book chapter on capacitance characterization of thin film solar cells.  He enjoys time with family, fixing and making things, and uphill outdoor sports.