Richard Ahrenkiel


For his seminal contributions to materials research, development and device characterization for semiconductor and photovoltaic technologies. Including the development of a unique technique to measure excess carrier lifetimes in materials, resonance-coupled photoconductive decay.

Research Professor at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado Research Fellow Emeritus at National Renewable Energy Laboratory Founder of Lakewood Semiconductors, LLC in Lakewood, Colorado

  • BS – Engineering Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1959
  • MS – Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1960
  • PhD – Solid State Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1964

Richard Ahrenkiel has worked with industry in collaborative research and directly for industry and government as a R&D specialist. He has worked on all phases and types of semiconductor devices ranging from MOS-based technologies to solar cells. Photovoltaic technology has been his primary interest for the last 25 years however, his area of specialization is material and device characterization.

He is currently a research professor in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a member of the Physics Advisory Board at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He was named a Research Fellow Emeritus by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2006, and in 2012, founded Lakewood Semiconductors, LLC, an analytical measurement service for electronic materials. He is also the co-author of Materials and Energy – Vol. 13, Theory and Methods of Photovoltaic Material Characterization, Optical and Electrical Measurement Techniques.

Ahrenkiel is a talented educator, has held several teaching positions during his career and mentored and graduated over 20 PhD students between 1985 and 2016. Early in his career, he was a part of a team that developed the first CCD electronic imager for digital photography technology at Eastman Kodak, and helped develop laser technology for application to laser fusion at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Because of his commitment to his field, Ahrenkiel was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Vacuum Society, and Optical Society of America as well as a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He was honored with a Hubbard Award for his contributions to photovoltaics in 1998 and named a research fellow for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2000.