Prof. Sylwester Porowski, PhD hab. – FNP Prize 2013 laureate
Born in 1938 in Bierzyn. He is a physicist specializing in solid state physics. He graduated in physics from the University of Warsaw in 1960, then defended his doctoral dissertation (1965) and obtained his postdoctoral degree (1972) at the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He received the title of professor in 1978.
He was head of the Laboratory of High Pressure Semiconductor Research at the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1964-1972; in 1972 this unit became the Unipress Laboratory of High Pressure Physics and Technology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He was its head from the beginning until 2010 (in 2004 its status was changed to the Institute of High Pressure Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences). He is currently its deputy director for new technologies.
He has also conducted research abroad, including at Harvard University (1967-69) and the University of Montpellier (from 1978).
He is a member of the Polish Physical Society, the European Physical Society and the AIRAPT International Association for the Advancement of High Pressure Science and Technology, chairing the latter in 1999-2003. He received the Award of the Polish President for the best invention in the product or technology category in 2002 (for his blue laser on a GaN monocrystal).
Prof. Porowski has published 399 scientific papers which have been cited 7,314 times, with a Hirsch index of 44.
Prof. Sylwester Porowski, winner of the FNP Prize in 2013 in the chemical and materials sciences, for developing a high-pressure method for producing gallium nitride monocrystals.
Prof. Sylwester Porowski was awarded the FNP Prize for obtaining excellent quality crystals of a new and important gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor using a high-pressure method, and for opening up prospects for extensive industrial application of these crystals. He has been conducting research on gallium nitride semiconductors since the 1980s. He was one of the first scientists to notice the attractiveness and unique properties of these crystalline substances. Gallium nitride and its alloys are the only semiconductors capable of generating stable, long-lasting and highly efficient light emission in the blue, green and ultraviolet regions. Thanks to its special properties, gallium nitride is the perfect semiconductor for many applications in optoelectronics and in permanent lighting systems – a technology that aims to replace traditional light sources with more efficient ones.
The methods that Prof. Porowski has developed for producing top-quality gallium nitride monocrystals as well as his studies on their properties have provided the foundations of Poland’s technology for producing quantum structures and laser diodes based on them. The excellence of the GaN crystals the professor obtained has enabled the structures and devices made with them to attain record-high properties. The next stage of the research involved obtaining crystals of greater diameter, enabling them to be used in optoelectronics on an industrial scale. This has opened up new prospects for using this unique material to produce diodes and lasers (also in Poland), including the blue laser whose possible applications include diagnostic spectroscopy, devices that detect components of chemical or biological weapons, for example, and new-generation laser projectors for generating excellent quality optical images.