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In memoriam: Cole Litton

04 February 2010

The SPIE community bids a sad farewell to Cole W. Litton, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday, January 26, during Photonics West in San Francisco.Cole W. Litton

Litton retired in 2006 as Senior Scientist from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, following a working career as an Air Force scientist that spanned 50 years. Litton was educated in solid-state and semiconductor physics in several universities in the U.S. and in Europe, and authored or coauthored more than 600 scientific/technical research papers published in physics and engineering journals and literature.

He was the current co-chair of the Gallium Nitride Materials and Devices conference and chair of the Oxide-Based Materials and Devices conference, two of the most successful conferences at Photonics West since their inception, and was an originator of both.

Litton was generally recognized as a world leader in research in solid-state and semiconductor physics and crystal growth, particularly in the optical, electrical, and structural properties of compound semiconductor materials and devices. He also pioneered work on the development of vapor-phase single crystal growth and the processing of bulk boules and platelets of II-VI compound semiconductors such as CdS, CdSe, ZnS, ZnO, ZnSe, and CdTe and their alloys. He helped develop MBE growth and the processing of epitaxial device layers of GaAs, related III-V arsenides, and their alloys, as well as GaN , related III-V nitrides, and their alloys.

Litton was a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a long-time devoted member of SPIE as well as other professional societies.

"Cole will be remembered for his dedication to and passion for science and technology and his love of life," said SPIE Board of Directors member James Grote. "He was a great individual with many friends."

In memory of Litton, the Gallium Nitride Materials and Devices Conference will now bear his name, recognizing his many contributions not only to SPIE but to advancing optics- and photonics-based research as well.