Growing up in Cape Breton eastern Canada, Daniel A. Beaton attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish where he pursued an Honours Bachelor's degree in Physics. His thesis was on a first-order magnetic-phase transition in iron as observed using tilted-plate-capacitance dilatometry under the supervision of Dr. Micheal Steintiz.
He moved on to receive a Master's degree from the University of British Columbia at Vancouver in the molecular-beam epitaxy group of Dr. Tom Tiedje. During this time, he designed and built a closed-cycle optical cryostat to be used to characterize dilute-nitride gallium arsenide (GaAs) semiconducting alloys grown in the lab. His Master's thesis focused on the temperature dependence of the photoluminescence, where shallow defect states were observed and the effect of the use of bismuth surfactant was found to reduce their density.
He then continued to work in the MBE group at UBC, now as a material grower with a focus on dilute bismide GaAs semiconducting alloys. His doctoral dissertation was on hole transport in this material system, where it was found that the hole mobility was not so dramatically reduced as in the analogous case of the dilute nitride alloys. This new material poses many challenges in terms of growth of high-quality films, as well as many interesting potential applications.
Dan is currently working on such diverse topics as novel semiconductor alloys for green LED applications in the field of solid-state lighting, high-field magneto-transport studies on the dilute bismides, and the design and set-up of a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) machine for growth of novel materials.